Mr. José Reyes Baeza Terrazas
Governor of the State of Chihuahua
Dear Mr. Governor,
Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, strongly condemns your summary rejection yesterday of the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) concerning an attack on three journalists by police officers attached to the Chihuahua State Investigation Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación).
Jaime Murrieta Briones, a photographer with the newspaper El Diario, and two reporters with the daily PM, Eugenia Cícero Rivera and Aurelio Suárez Núñez, came across police officers drinking alcohol on the street with a group of residents on 5 September 2006. Fearing they would be photographed, the police assaulted the journalists and destroyed their cameras. They also opened fire on their cars.
In its resolution 33/2007 of 28 August 2007, the CNDH urges you to establish the reasons for the shortcomings in the investigation into this case that was carried out by your behalf, and to award compensation to Briones, Cícero and Suárez. The CNDH also asked you to ensure that the police respect press freedom.
The staff responsible for internal discipline in your administration concluded that the police officers concerned were only in the wrong inasmuch as they failed to prevent an attack on the journalists, although many witnesses said the police officers were themselves among the assailants.
Your administration should not condone, albeit only implicitly, acts of violence and abuse of authority as this encourages impunity. It is your duty to guarantee press freedom in your state and to set an example by punishing the police officers involved.
I look forward to your reply,