Miami (February 10, 2009)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the attack on the editor of Sinaloa, Mexico's El Debate and demanded that local and federal authorities perform a prompt investigation to uncover the motives and bring those responsible to justice.
Editor Moisés García Castro and his family were at home early yesterday when a group of gunmen fired AK-47 rifles at the house. The family was unhurt even though bullets penetrated the structure, damaged two parked cars and neighboring homes. Garcia Castro’s newspaper is located in the town of Guasave in the northwestern Mexico state of Sinaloa.
IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, El Tiempo, Colombia, urged the authorities to act swiftly, saying that “the speed of the investigation and the punishment or not of those responsible for this act have a direct impact on the level of violence and self-censorship that is generated -- and as a result on the wellbeing of the people’s right to information.”
Executives from the newspaper filed a formal complaint with the Sinaloa State Attorney’s Office and asked it to investigate the paper’s recent reports on corruption and organized crime.
Another newspaper in the same chain, El Debate of Cualiacán, the Sinaloa state capital, was also attacked on November 16 last year. Two hand grenades were tossed into the main entrance to the newspaper’s offices, smashing the door and windows and the nearby security guard post. No one was injured in that incident.
For his part, the chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas, issued a call on the Sinaloa and federal authorities “to ensure the physical safety of journalists and their families, so that they may fulfill their duty to inform the public without fear of retaliation.”