16 June 2008

IAPA assails Mexico’s Guanajuato state government for discriminating against two critical newspapers


MIAMI, Florida (June 16, 2008)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today charged the state government of Guanajuato in Mexico for discrimination against the newspapers a.m. and Correo in its placement of official advertising after claiming insults were made against them for refusing to provide information, The state actions were seen as revenge for the papers’ critical editorial stance.


In a letter to Guanajuato Governor Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, IAPA President Earl Maucker and the chairman of the organization’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, expressed repudiation of the state government’s attitude, declaring, “No news medium nor journalist should be punished for publishing the truth or criticizing or denouncing the government.”


“Since publishing certain reports the newspapers have been the target of insults aimed at their executives and subject to an information boycott; announcements by state agencies have been withdrawn in a move that has been ordered copied at the municipal level in cities run by members of the state government party” ” one of the media outlets advised.


The IAPA urged Gov. Oliva Ramírez to call a halt to what it saw as the discriminatory actions, in line with Article 7 of the IAPA-sponsored Declaration of Chapultepec, which states, “Tariff and exchange policies, licenses for the importation of paper or news-gathering equipment, the assigning of radio and television frequencies and the granting or withdrawal of government advertising may not be used to reward or punish the media or individual journalists.”


It further told the governor that “our organization regards the use of penalties to sway editorial decisions and political reporting by the news media amounts as an act of corruption” and called on him to “take into account the recommendation of the Guanajuato Human Rights Office which has called upon government agencies to establish ‘clear, fair, objective and non-discriminatory criteria’ in decisions concerning official advertising.”


In addition, the IAPA officers urged Gov. Oliva Ramírez “to cause freedom of the press to be respected as an inalienable guarantee for solidifying the state of law.”