Journalism in Mexico continues to be a highly risky activity. Thirty-one journalists were murdered during the Vicente Fox administration. In fact, the National Human Rights Commission has described the period as “journalism’s six dark years.” And the situation doesn’t appear to be any better under the new administration, at least not since its inauguration in early December 2006. Between October 2006 and February 2007, seven journalists were murdered, two others disappeared, and eight complaints of threats have been filed with the authorities and nongovernmental organizations. Organized crime and abuses by the powers that be are still the main threats, and these crimes remain unpunished. Mexico’s most notorious case of impunity is that of Alfredo Jiménez Mota, a reporter for El Imparcial in Hermosillo, Sonora, who had specialized in investigative reporting on drug trafficking. Nearly two years after his disappearance, no official report has been released on the case, and the perpetrators and masterminds behind his disappearance have yet to be identified. An IAPA delegation visited Mexico one week ago to ask the authorities to do more to protect journalists. The mission secured a commitment from Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa to decriminalize “press crimes” such as defamation. The mission also urged the Mexican government to make it a federal offense to commit a violent crime against a journalist; to make targeting a journalist an aggravating circumstance in a crime; and to make crimes against journalists exempt from statutes of limitations. Noteworthy incidents in this latest period: On October 27, 2006, Bradley Wheyler, a U.S. cameraman for the Indymedia news agency, died after being shot in the chest while covering a confrontation between teachers from the Popular Association of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and the Oaxaca Municipal Police. On October 23, Guevara Guevara Domínguez, editor of Siglo XXI magazine, which is published in the United States, was reported missing. Two months later he was found dead alongside a highway in the state of Durango. On November 12, 2006, Misael Tamayo Hernández, editor of the newspaper El Despertar de la Costa, was found dead in a hotel in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. His body exhibited signs of torture. On November 16, José Manuel Nava, the former editor of Excélsior newspaper, died after being stabbed seven times in his Mexico City apartment. On November 22, the bullet-riddled body of Roberto Marcos García, a reporter for Testimonio magazine and correspondent for Alarma, was found on a highway in the state of Veracruz. Also in Veracruz, on December 1 police found the body of Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán, a local correspondent for Televisa who had been missing for four days. He had been shot twice in the head. On December 8, Raúl Marcial Pérez, an editorial writer for the Oaxaca newspaper El Gráfico, was murdered by a group of assailants that entered the newsroom and shot him multiple times. On November 20, 2006, José Antonio García Apac, editor of the weekly Ecos de la Cuenca in Tepalcatepec, Michoacán, went missing. On January 25, it was reported that the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Journalists opened an investigation to search for Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, a reporter for Tabasco Hoy who went missing in the state of Tabasco, located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Many journalists have also filed reports of threats: On October 23, 2006, Epifanio López Roblero of El Orbe newspaper reported that the mayor of Huixtla, Chiapas, had threatened him with a firearm. On November 8, it was announced that police reports had been filed against Mayor Roberto Figueroa Mazariegos of Comitán, Chiapas, for threatening Rosy Guadalupe Pérez, editor of El Meridiano newspaper, and Marco Antonio Guillén Abarca, editor of the newspaper El Diario de Comitán. On November 23, 2006, journalist Sanjuana Martínez of Proceso magazine reported receiving death threats over the phone. On December 5, 2006, news photographer Saúl Contreras of the newspaper El Mundo de Córdoba in the state of Veracruz filed a criminal complaint with the state attorney general’s office for assault and death threats from a group of heavily armed men. On January 8, 2007, Evelyn Hernández, a reporter and columnist for the newspaper Hoy Tamaulipas, claimed in her complaint that she had received 10 death threats over the phone in the last three months. On February 6, journalist Nadia Altamirano of the newspaper El Imparcial de Oaxaca filed a complaint with the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Journalists (a unit of the Federal Office of the Attorney General) alleging that she had been threatened for her report on irregularities in a highway expansion project in the Cerro del Fortín area of the state of Oaxaca. Cases of assaulted journalists include the following: On November 3, El Universal photographer David Jaramillo and Proceso photographer Miguel Dimayuga were assaulted by police in Oaxaca. On January 25, Mario Martell, a reporter for Intolerancia Radio in Puebla, was hospitalized after being beaten by a bodyguard of Roberto Marín Torres, the brother of the governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla. The next day, on January 26, the vehicle of Martín Mayoral Lozano, editor of the newspapers La Voz del Noroeste and Diario del Noroeste, was set ablaze in the early morning hours outside his home in Caborca, Sonora. Also set ablaze was the car of Agustín Ávila, a correspondent for the newspaper El Mañana de Reynosa and president of the local Union of Democratic Journalists, on January 27 in Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas. On February 5 it was announced that a journalist in Agua Prieta, Sonora, was abducted and taken to the town of Tres Álamos in the Janos district of the state of Chihuahua. Local authorities reported that the journalist escaped from his captors, who were asking for 100,000 U.S. dollars in ransom. The reporter’s identity was not revealed. On February 28, the Chihuahua Journalists Forum condemned the attack on Alberto Hierro, a photographer for El Heraldo de Chihuahua, at the hands of agents with the Federal Office of the Attorney General during an operation in downtown Chihuahua. On March 15, the Yucatán newspaper Por Esto! reported that the administration of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa refused to grant accreditation to its reporters and photographers for the visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to Mérida. The newspaper claimed that this was in retaliation for its critical editorial line.