24 February 2009

IAPA outraged at Mexican journalist's murder

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Miami (February 25, 2009).—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder on Sunday of Luis Daniel Méndez Hernández in the Mexican state of Veracruz – the second killing of a journalist in that country so far this year. It again called for a prompt investigation to identify the perpetrators of this and similar crimes and bring them to justice.
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Miami (February 25, 2009).—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder on Sunday of Luis Daniel Méndez Hernández in the Mexican state of Veracruz – the second killing of a journalist in that country so far this year. It again called for a prompt investigation to identify the perpetrators of this and similar crimes and bring them to justice.

Méndez Hernández, 33, was killed as he was visiting his birthplace, Huayacocotla. At 11:15 a.m. he was heading home when an assailant from a nearby group shot him in the back at point-blank range. A reporter for radio station La Poderosa, an affiliate of the Radiorama network, in Tuxpan, Veracruz state, was shot four times.

“Once again we express our concern at yet another journalist's murder in Mexico, a case that we hope does not become just a mere statistic,” declared IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo. “Witnessing more diligence and a sense of urgency from authorities is essential if journalists are to be able to work without fear.”

Police have arrested three suspects who are believed to have been hired by organized crime bosses. Colleagues of Méndez Hernández told the IAPA’s Rapid Response Unit in Mexico, however, that the motive for the killing was unclear. He had been assigned to cover the State Congress and the Puerto de Veracruz Commission.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas, stated that “the Mexican authorities should treat this investigation with urgency in order to punish those responsible for such violence as well as ensure the safety of journalists and the fundamental human right to provide and receive information.”

Police have not ruled out any theories yet, the IAPA was told, including one that Méndez Hernández, a journalist for five years, may have been killed for the material he reported; he often broadcast  accounts of violent incidents and organized crime's activities.

On February 13 the news photographer Jean Paul Ibarra Ramírez from the newspaper El Correo in Guerrero state was murdered.

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