MEXICO The exercise of freedom of expression in Mexico faces difficulties and risks. This is evident from the attacks suffered by reporters, columnists and newspaper installations; the promulgation of laws which restrict free expression and instances of censorship, especially in radio. However, the federal government has continued the process of privatizing official information media and has sold its television channels and studios and movie houses. In addition, the privatization of three newspaper factOries owned by PIPSA, a state-owned enterprise which had been challenged by the IAPA, was announced. Seven reporters were murdered in Mexico last year: Ignacio Mendoza Castillo, a reporter of Quintana Roo, who was killed in the Federal District; Jesus Nunez Sanchez, a reporter and columnist, in Mexico state; Roberto Mancilla in Chiapas; Jose Herrara Canas, a photographer, in the Federal District; Jessica Elizalde de Le6n, a reporter, in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua; Araceli Caballero Hernandez, a reporter, in Ecatepec, Mexico state; Gregorio Sanchez Mora, a photographer, in C6rdoba, Veracruz. Only in the last two cases were the alleged murderers arrested and tried. The motives in the other cases remain unknown. In the case of Mendoza Castillo, who was killed on November 13, 1992, it was proven that his death was unrelated to his work as a journalist, although Mendoza had previously asserted that his life was in danger because of his activities as a journalist. His alleged murderer was arrested November 28. Those responsible for the murder of journalist Robert Mancilla, of Chiapas, on February 2, 1992, were arrested in May. The official investigation revealed that the events were unrelated to articles published by the victim. In June, an IAPA fact-finding mission traveled to CiudadJuarez, Chihuahua, where it condemned the deaths of Jessica Elizalde de Le6n, Victor Manuel Oropeza and Hermelinda Bejarano-the last two having occurred in previous years - and asked that the authorities intervene and clarify the homicides. In March, Oropeza's friends asked the State Legislature to intervene and to resolve the case. Two years after the homicide, the journalist's widow charged that evidence that would have aided an investigation of the crime had disappeared. Jose Antonio Zorilla Perez, former Federal Security Director, and Juan Rafael Moro Avila, a former agent of the same agency, were convicted of the murder of newspaperman Manuel Buendia Tellezgirón and were sentenced on February 16, 1933, to 35 years in prison. Three other former policemen were sentenced to 25 years as accomplices. On May 30, in commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the assassination of the columnist, various groups demanded that authorities continue to investigate the crime. On August 16, the sentences impose.d for the homicide of Buendia were ratified. However, neither the identity of those who plotted the murders nor their motives have been established. Also, an alleged accomplice in the death of Gabriel Venegas, a reporter for the television news show 24 horas, was arrested and sentenced in August. However, the culprits of the murder-which police said was motivated by revenge-remain at large. On February 21, the Attorney General's Office assigned two government officials from Sinaloa state to investigate the 1987 and 1988 murders of journalists Jesus Michel Jacobo and Manuel Burgueno Orduno. Three newspapers were attacked: Primera Plana, in Hermosillo was riddled with bullets; Presente, in Villahermosa, was attacked twice, while Regeneracion, of Oxaca, was attacked once. During the period covered by this report, at least 37 other journalists suffered attacks or received threats because of their work. Four publications charged that the distribution of their publications had been hindered because of their editorial content: the magazines Proceso, Quehacer Politico and Epoca on January 29, 1993 and the newspaper Unomasuno, on February 25, 1993. In another case, Proceso charged in November 1992 that it had been pressured by the federal government not to publish information about a meeting of the chief of the presidential staff, Jose Córdoba Montoya, with a representative of then President-Elect Bill Clinton. There were also charges that the federal government was involved in attempts to censor reports on a plebiscite organized in March and a speech that was particularly critical of the President of the Republic in a meeting with congressmen in August. The weekly Opción, published in Campeche state, charged that it had been subjected to pressures from the administration of Governor Jorge Salom6n Azar Garcia, culminating in a raid on its plant and the seizure of its equipment. However, the action was carried out on a court order issued as a result of a debt, which the publishers acknowledged. An IAPA investigation previously found that Opción was using equipment owned by the Campeche government and depended on official advertising for survival. Because of the murder of Ignacio Mendoza Castillo, the charges by Opción and the alleged violations of freedom of expression in Chiapas state, the IAPA sent a fact-finding mission which concluded that the penal codes of the states in the region could be used unilaterally by authorities to silence criticism. But the mission also was told that many journalists in southern Mexico counted on governmental assistance to sustain their publications, while others have changed their editorial policies in line with the presence or absence of official advertising and government aid. Editors and workers of the Vanguardia de Chihuahua took control of the newspaper on January 6, 1993, claiming their wages had not been paid. They came out with their own publication, which they called El Observador. Following a protest by the owner, Armando Castilla, Judicial Police agents evicted the workers from the building. However, a state court ruled in March that the installations should be returned to the employees who had illegally occupied them. An IAPA committee investigated the incident in January, and in June 1993, a second IAPA mission condemned the illegal takeover of Vanguardia and urged the government to return the company to its rightful owners. Until today, the installations continue in the hands of the workers and there has been no court action in favor of the owners by the state judge, who has accused Governor Francisco Barrio of interfering in the judicial process. In spite of the crime, the principal authors are still free. Reporter Zachary Margulis was fired by the daily The News for publishing information that allegedly linked the former Secretary of Government Manual Bartelet, now govenor of Puebla state, to the murders of reporters Manuel Buendia and Javier Juarez in 1984. Ninfa Deander, the editor of El Manana de Nuevo Laredo, and Noe Cuellar, owner of several radio stations, were harassed after reporting on disturbances in the Neuvo Laredo customs area. Armando Flores, editor of El Correo del Pacifico, was jailed after defending himself against an attack resulting from information he had published. He was released the following day. Armando Martinez de la Rosa, editor of El Independiente de Colima, reported in December 1992 that the state government had suspended official advertising over discontent with criticism the newspaper had published. In the last week of October, Jose Robles Martinez, editor of the Diario del Itzmo, reported to the editor of this report that PEMEX officials tried to silence him with death threats at the time that the outside fiscal adViser of his daily was assassinated. Presently, Mr. Robles Martinez is out of the country. Investigations related to the drug traffic also threaten freedom of expression in Mexico. In April, the Attorney General of Mexico expressed his concern that the drug traffic "is penetrating" some communication media and announced that he had ordered investigations into the matter. The announcement caused an impassioned debate between the press and authorities. Moreover, it has fed speculation that is damaging the reputation of many journalists. In July, the Attorney General's office charged two journalists, Mario Rivas and Mario Munguia, and a PRI congressman, Cesareo Morales, who were accused of laundering money in 1988. In the case of Rivas and Morales, the judges refused to release the arrest order. In exchange, Munguia went to jail, but the charges were reduced to smuggling and concealment: he was released two months later for lack of evidence. The only person who was actually jailed on charges related to the drug traffic was Fulvio Jimenez Turengano, the police commander who initially headed up the investigations, and who was discovered with links to drug traffickers. In another case, the daily EI Manana, of Reynosa, was the object of harrassment by investigations related to the drug traffic. When the daily charged that it was an atttempt to restrict its rights, the Attorney General of the Republic replied that he intended to "clarify specific, possibly criminal incidents completely unrelated to freedom of expression." In November, five workers of the daily were arraigned but freed on bail. Only a lawyer was declared formally arrested. Promulgation of new laws or the application of others already in existence also have threatened to restrict freedom of expression. In June, the Campeche state legislature promulgated penal reforms that establish the crime of "moral damage." Four youths who allegedly published a pamphlet were arrested recently, victims of the new legislation. Even the official television channel was accused of "moral damage" by one of the opposition parties. The application of a similar law in Tabasco state, passed last year, brought protests, culminating in the formation of a Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Expression. Some of the members were fired from their jobs in reprisal. Two journalists, also from Tabasco state, were arrested after the Army accused them of violating the Press Law. Roberto CuiWihuac Villar of La Extra and Victor Chable were sentenced to nine months in prison, but a court later annulled the sentence. The Puebla state legislature reappointed a committee which will watch whether "publications maintain themselves within the limits of respect to private life, peace and moral public and personal dignity." In July, the federal government sold Radio Televisora del Centro - 11 television stations, the Theater Operating Company and the America Film Studios - to a group of private investors as part of its privatization strategy. The government newspaper El Nacional was originally included in the package but the bids were too small. However, the sale of the daily is being prepared again. The government kept the stations of the Instituto Mexicano de la Radio and the official wire service Notimex and have not made plans to sell them. In September, the government announced the sale of three newsprint factories from the industrial complex of Productora e lmportadora de Papel S.A. (PIPSA). However, the government announced that PIPSA will continue as a public enterprise "to fully guarantee supplies and assure regulation of the newsprint market." In another order, the President of the Republic put into effect in October 1992 measures obliging the media to pay their own costs when accompanying him on international trips. A similar decree for domestic trips went into effect in March 1993. On December 23, 1992, a government decree published in the Diario Oficial regulated official aid given to journalists. Also, for the first time in 32 years, Freedom of Press Day was not celebrated in 1993, but was replaced by a working breakfast attended by the President and a group of editors. Finally, there is evidence that in various states the practice of giving gifts and mementos to journalists still exists. Radio was the medium where freedom of expression was most threatened. The most noteworthy case was that of journalist Miguel Angel Granados Chapa, who left his program at the end of September. He charged that he had been forced to resign because of an interview with the opposition leader Cuauhtemoc Cardenas and blamed pressure on the director of Radio, Television and Cinema (RTC) by Govern-ment Secretary Manuel Villa. The owner of the radio station where Granados Chapa worked said that it was a labor disagreement, and various officials gave assurances that the right of expression had not been limited. After the intervention of the President of the Republic, who offered the journalist assurances that his administration had nothing to do with the incident, Manuel Villa was fired from his job. There were also charges that various other journalists lost their jobs in radio because of pressure from the RTC. Among those were Rene Delgado, Adolfo Agilar Zinser, Catalina Noriega and Jorge Castaneda. In addition, the editor of the station El Universal, Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, charged that a program sponsored by his daily F6rmula Universal had been taken off the radio because of censorship. Similar problems were encountered by the radio program Voces y Criterios, in Chihuahua, and En Este Momenta, of Villahermosa, Tabasco state, whose editor was fired for speaking out about the government. The Association of Daily Newspaper Editors demanded the termination of the monopoly exercised by the Uni6n de Voceadores y Expendedores de Periódicos of the Federal District. The daily El Excelsior widely reported the demand and later charged that the Uni6n had obstructed the daily's circulation. In July, Enrique G6mez Corchado, leader of the Uni6n for 18 years, announced that he would leave the organization in 1994. On August 3, the IAPA expressed its concern about customs tariffs charged at the frontier between Mexico and the United States that impede the free flow of information. Toward the end of October, the newspaper El Mexicano of Baja California State protested to the government at the suspension of placement of official advertising and alleged that officials were pressuring local businesses to drop their advertising also.