December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Mexico

OPC Condemns Yet Another Murder of a Mexican Journalist

H.E. Felix Calderon
President of Mexico
Residencia Official de los Pinas
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec
11850 Mexico, DF Mexico
Fax: (011.52.55.5) 515. 5729

Your Excellency:

How appalling that only ten days into the New Year, the world hears of yet another murder of a journalist in Mexico, where in 2011 the media lost ten people to violent murders, still unpunished.  On January 6, Raul Querino Garza was killed in Nuevo Leon, near Monterrey.  Mr. Querino Garza, who wrote for La Ultima Palabra, was shot dead by unknown gunmen, who chased him down is his car and fired 18 bullets into him.  This came just days after Mexico was reported to have the worst record in Latin America in 2011 for the safety of journalists, and the worst record worldwide of journalists murdered, with one more than in Iraq.

As we have written you several times, we applaud your commitment to end this scourge, and we understand that you are trying hard to reach that goal.  But this latest outrage is further proof that the effort is failing.  As your own government reported this week, 47,515 people have been killed in drug-related cases from the day of your announcement of the crackdown in 2006 to last September 30.  Surely, it is time to re-think your strategy and tactics and intensify the fight.

The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for more than 66 years, understands that many Mexican journalists have fled their country in justifiable fear for their lives.  Others have resorted to self-censorship to avoid retaliation from the drug gangs and from corrupt policemen who serve as allies of the cartels.  But we are proud and awed that so many of our colleagues in Mexico still have the extraordinary courage and dedication that are part of the DNA of our profession, and  will continue to investigate and expose the killers and the system that protects them.

Mr. President, your country has given you a mandate to fight harder and more dramatically to preserve the historic reputation of Mexico as a thriving and healthy democracy.   Since the day in late November designated by PEN as the Day of the Dead, your own citizens have been urging you to fulfill your promise to make crimes against journalists a federal offense, which would offer real power to federal authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes and the criminals who now feel confident that they can walk away with impunity.

Again, we respectfully and passionately suggest that unless aggressive measures are immediately enacted, the war of the gangs against the media will intensify, underscoring the inability of your government to end the violence and protect the established freedom of press rights in Mexico.  You could underscore the sincerity of your fight to defend the civilized from the marauders by ordering your government to be more transparent.  For example, our letters of August 2 and September 28, 2011 listed six of the tragic cases still supposedly under investigation, but with no published results.  What progress has been made in each of them?

Respectfully yours,
Jacqueline Albert-Simon
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee