Reporters without borders expressed concern over the assaults on Inving Leftor
Magaña, camera operator for Telemundo, a cable television station in Hidalgo
State (northern Mexico) and Humberto Cásarez, from the daily "Imagen",
published in the city of Fresnillo (Zacatecas State, northern Mexico). In a
letter to Interior Minister Santiago Creel Miranda, Reporters without borders Secretary-General Robert Ménard condemned "the increase in the number of assaults and threats against journalists." He asked Miranda to open an investigation into each case, bearing in mind that state agents may be involved. According to Reporters without borders, there were approximately 15 cases of attacks or threats recorded in 2001.
Moreover, Reporters without borders protested the summons by the Acapulco Public Prosecutor’s office served on Maribel Gutiérrez, of the daily "El Sur", published in
Acapulco, in Guerrero State, (southeastern Mexico). Gutiérrez was questioned
about her sources for articles she wrote on the assassination of Digna
Ochoa, a lawyer and human rights activist. "All journalists questioned about
information gathered while exercising their profession must have their right
to the confidentiality of sources respected," stated Ménard.
"Despite a slow improvement in the press freedom situation, civil servants
and elected officials, who do not accept the press’s role as a
counterbalance, continuously subject journalists to acts of intimidation,"
According to information gathered by Reporters without borders, on 24 June 2002, Leftor, a camera operator for Telemundo, was hospitalised after being assaulted by officers from the Pachuca (capital of Hidalgo State) Municipal Police. He fractured
his left leg. The assault took place while the journalist and 20 other
information professionals were covering a demonstration by the Agricultural
Workers’ Union (Unión de trabajadores agrícolas, UNTA). The protest was
violently contained by municipal security officers. According to testimony
from journalists present at the scene, there was no justification for the
assault on Leftor. The journalist has filed a complaint.
On 31 May, Cásarez, from the daily "Imagen", was assaulted by the president
of the Fresnillo Autonomous University (Universidad Autónoma de Fresnillo,
UAF) board of directors, Gustavo Ramos, and Rector Jesús Bonilla Elizondo.
The assault occurred after the daily published information on alleged acts
of corruption by the UAF directors. The newspaper has filed a complaint with
the Public Prosecutor’s office.
Also according to information gathered by Reporters without borders, Gutiérrez, from the daily "El Sur", was questioned on 12 June by an official from the Acapulco Public
Prosecutor’s office, regarding the investigation of lawyer and human rights
activist Ochoa’s assassination. Gutiérrez was summoned after the 5, 6, 7, 8
and 9 June publications of columns in "El Sur", which reported on Ochoa’s
alleged murderers. The Public Prosecutor’s Office ignored and did not verify
this information. During her appearance in court, the journalist refused to
identify her sources. A few days before Gutiérrez’s summons, Mexico City and
Guerrero State judicial police officers had gone to "El Sur"’s offices to sp
eak with the newspaper’s director.