MEXICO In Mexico, there has been relative freedom of the press, albeit punctuated with increasing attacks on journalists. Four journalists were murdered in Mexico during the past six months; none of the cases has been solved. Three of the homicides were in Morelos State, near the capital, during a six-week periodo Two of those killed worked for the same newspaper. The case of two journalists murdered in 1991 and 1993, both of which had supposedly been solved, have now been reopened - without outcome so far. The Mexican government still maintains on the books regulations allowing it to license and categorize national publications, and recently appeared to formalize these norms by publishing in the September 22 Official Gazette several agreements that place limits on the freedom of expression. The published agreements had all been approved in the past five years by the Qualifying Commission on Illustrated Publications and Magazines. General agreement 04-89 grants the Commission the right to authorize its president and technical secretary to suspend publication of media for a period of not more than 90 days, once a regulatory hearing has been held to determine if a publication has been in "flagrant and serious violation of the regulations." The agreement is based on "the social necessity to adopt efficient measures" to control what the Commission considers flagrant abuses of the media. General agreement 05-89 mandates that distributors and vendors must send a list three times a year to the Commission of all the publications they han die and must "verify the authenticity of the data of the publications they agree to sell." General agreement 07-89 spells out "varieties of expression considered against social ethics and education," including explicit sexual content on covers and back covers of publications, headlines, and images conveying sexual aggression. General agreement 01-90 "prohibits making reference to the licenses granted by the Commission outside the publications themselves." Agreement 02-91 authorizes the Commission president and technical secretary to require publications that mention membership in international organizations to prove that membership with notarized documents. In a similar fashion, the agreement prohibits the publication of affiliation with national or international organizations without the express written consent of the organization involved, particularly in those cases related to fundraising and prizes. Here is a chronological account of the most important events: MARCH: 1. Felipe de Jesús Venegas Cano, journalist for Diario de Colima, is freed from jail after his alleged participation in two assaults could not be proven. He claimed his arrest was in reprisal for earlier criticisms. 4. Two indigenous groups from Tabasco filed a suit for defamation against Miguel Cantón Zetina, editor of Tabasco Hoy, and columnist Mario Ibarra Lizárraga, whom they had accused of subversive activities. 10/14/17. There were new warnings and threats against Amado Avendaño, editor of Tiempo of San Cristóbal de las Casas, and members of his staff, who have been said to have sympathies with the Chiapas rebels. Armed men posted near the newspaper premises intimidate the journalists. 10. Six journalists from Minatitlán, Antonio Orozco Reyes, Roque Hernández, Sergio Tinoco, Javier Romero, Irene Martínez and Guillermo Gutíerrez, were attacked by labor leaders and company officials while they covering a worker pro test. 15. In its report on attacks on the press during 1993, the Committee for the Protection oflournalists (CPJ) declared, "Mexico has the least independent press of any major country in the hemisphere." The document mentioned several cases already described in lAPA reports. 16. Journalist José Agustín Reyes, correspondent for the newspaper El Heraldo and the radio network Rasa, was gunned down and killed in his offices in La Paz, Baja California, and his body dumped on a nearby ranch and partially burned. On March 31, Attorney General for Baja California, Héctor Sabino, reported that the investigation is making progress and promises to offer results within a short time, indicating that it is not believed that the crime was related to the journlaist's work. On June 6, the Attorney General reported two suspects had been identified in the case. On September 15, police agents arrested the journalist's widow, María del Carmen Rodríguez Nava, on charges of a coverup. The woman blamed the murder on Alberto Salas and said she had known about the events through her husband's "secretary and intimate friend", but did not inform the authorities. 16. A Molotov cocktail damaged the offices of the newspaper Noroeste in Culiacán. After the explosion, an anonymous call threatened new attacks and "more drastic measures" unless the newspaper "changed its editorial line." 23. PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was assassinated in Tijuana, Baja California. The murder sent shock waves through the country and public opinion began to criticize certain newpapers, especially those that sympathized, even in the most discreet fashion, with the indigenous rebels in Chiapas, for fomenting aclimate of violence. One of the newspapers mentioned in these attacks, La Jornada, defended its right to freedom of expression. 30. Journalists Rocío Galván and Jorge Rocha, anchors for the radio programs "Monitor Doble X" and "Pido La Palabra" in Tijuana, received death threats after raising doubts about the official versions of the Colosio murder. APRIL: 14. A judge found Esteban de Jesús Zorrilla and Vicente Espinosa Pimental not guilty of the murder of journalist Roberto Mancilla Herrera, killed by two bullets February 2, 1993. The suspects declared in a press conference staged by state government officials, but later said they had confessed under torture. 14. Ambrosio Gutiérrez Pérez, reporter and editorial writer for Tribuna of Campeche, was roughed up by three alleged agents of the StateJudicial Police, while he was covering a rally presided by Governor Jorge Salamón Azar, whom he frequently criticized in his writings. 21. The Mexican Jesuit Province filed a defamation suit against Summa, which published the news that a priest, Jerónimo Hernández, is the rebel leader known as Subcommander Marcos. The compalints was made against reporter Ernesto Esparza, who wrote the information; José Antonio Pérez Stuart, editor ofthe newspaper, andJacobo Zabudovsky, director of the publishing house affiliated with Televisa. The Jesuits have repeatedly asserted that their denunciation has gone unheeded because of the great influence of the consortium. 26. La Jornada reporters who cover the Chiapas conflict report they feel "under siege." MAY: 6. Photographer Lucio Blanco of Digital Press is attacked during a campaign rally by a bodyguard for the new PRI can di date Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León. 14. In its world report on thepress freedom, Freedom House establishes that the Mexican press is "partially free," a category occupied by 62 of the 64 countries cited. 20. A group of 11 reporters was roughed up during a rally for PRI senators in Querétaro. 20. Photographer José Refugio Núñez, from the agency Cuartos curo, is attacked by grenadiers while covering an airplane accident at the Mexico City airport. JUNE: The editor and publisher of La Voz del Istmo, José Robles Martínez, filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Veracruz, charging that the Government Secretary (interior minister) Miguel Angel Yunes had pressured him into selling his company, which allegedly was sympathic to the opposition. Among the stated pressures were an advertising boycott, a refusal to pay for publicity placed by semi-public agenciues, threats and accusations of money-Iaundering. Attorney Ricardo A. Ramírez Alamo, hired by Robles Martínez to defend himself, was murdered on Gctober 18, 1993. There are no suspects in the case, and the motive for the murder has not been determined, as indicated in the previous report. 2. Ayear after the murder of reporter Aracelo Caballero Hernández, her parents indicated their disagreement with the criminal investigation. S. La lomada reporters Victor Ballinas and Renato Ravelo were kidnapped for several hours and lost their equipment when the building in which they lived in Mexico City was illegally occupied by members of the Cardenist National Reconstruction Front. 6. Journalist Jorge Martín Dorantes, 30, died after receving five gunshot wounds. He was shot by at least two people in front of his house in Cuernavaca, Morales. The editor of the weekly Crucero, which takes a critical stance, managed to duck the attack and shot off his own weapon without injuring the attackers. Nothing is known about those responsible for the attack. 6. Two journalists, José Luis Almaraz and Jorge Domínguez, filed a law suit against the former mayor of Texcoco, Isidoro Burgues Cuesta, for threats and defamation. 7. The Latin American Federation of Journalists published a study which showed that Mexico is the country where most journalists have been killed since 1970, with 87 deaths - 46 in the last S 1/2 years alone. In the majority of the homicides, the police have not established motives, much less found those responsible for the crimes. 10. Five people, travelling in two separate vehicles, beat up and robbed reporter Armando Sepúlveda of Excélsior, whom they left handcuffed in his own car trunk. In his declarations, the victim asserted that when he identified himself as a journalist, the assailants - who appeared to be policemen - said "We know very well who you are" and "We already know what this is about." 12. The newspaper Por Esto, supposedly tied to government interests, suspended its circulation and declared in an editorial that its closure was due to "presidential authoritarianism" and to the decapitalization caused by the withdrawal of tax benefits. 24. Irish journalist Michael McCaugham was detained at a military checkpoint in Chiapas, when he allegedly had difficulty proving his identity. He said he felt intimidated before finally being released. JULY: 4. The Attorney General for Chihuahua state reopens the case of journalist Victor Manuel Gropeza Contreras, murdered July 3, 1991. Two suspects had been jailed, but were later freed due to the efforts of the National Commission on Human Rights. 11. José Luis Rojas, one of the most prestigious journalists in Morelos state, news editor for La Unión of Morelos, is found murdered near the village of Chamilpa. His body was wrapped in a sheet in several plastic bags and appeared to have been strangled sorne 72 hours before. Gn July 14, State Attorney General Jorge Arturo García said that those responsible for Rojas' murder had been "fully identified." Dozens of Morelos journalists questioned the same day in a public manifestation, "Who's Next?" Gn July 17, an arrest warrant was issued for Israel Lavín Rojas, who allegedly murdered the journalist in his own home. Gn August S, the stateJudicial Police captured Emi Carlos AyacaJaimes, Lavín's alleged accomplice, and accused him of disposing of the victim's body. Ayaca claimed that the death was an accident, resulting from a drunken brawl. 11. Enrique Alcázar Estrada and Federico Estrada Trujillo, former employees of Editores Paso del Norte, which publishes Diario de Juárez, were arrested for tax fraud. In an editorial, Diario de juárez, the largest cireulation newspaper in Chihuahua, charged that the the arrests were retaliation for a series on eorruption of customs officials. 19. Newspaper executives of Imagen of Zaeateeas presented a complaint for defamation and damages of private property. Unknown persons painted signs on the building, "Death to jehovah's Witnesses" 22. The Azar group, made up of the brothers of Campeche governor jorge Salomón García, filed a suit for moral damages against the editors of the newspaper Tribuna of Campeche. The newspaper, which aeeused the group of growing as a result of the governor's power, asserted in an editorial that the suit was in reprisal for its editorial stance. 25. The editor of Tiempo, who was also an opposition candidate for governor of Chiapas, was seriously wounded in a incident on the highway in which three people died. His relatives ealled it an attempt on his life, but official investigations ruled out that possibility. AUGUST: 6 to 9. During the celebration of the National Democratie Convention in the Chiapas jungle, the National Zapatista Liberation Front banned the television stations Televisa and Univisión and the newspapers Summa and Ovaciones-whieh belong to Televisa--and the English-language daily The News from eovering the evento 24. journalist Enrique Quintana, associate business editor of Reforma, left his job as anchor for the news program "Enfoque," on Stereo 100, beeause a station sponsor had tried to impose an editorialline "with favoritism towards the government and in which information about the (oppostion party) PRO was omitted," according to Quintana. The confiict came about as a result of an interview with Eduardo Valle, a former official in the Attorney General's office, who denouneed eonneetions between politicians and drug-traffiekers and suggested that the latter could have ordered the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio. SEPTEMBER: 24. journalist Gunther Dietz, a representative of the International Agency of Indigenous Press of Germany, was arrested by national seeurity agents in Morelia, Miehoaeán. He was transferred to Mexico City and turned over to immigration officials.