An environment of violence and impunity beleaguer journalism, where attacks against journalists and the media have increased over the past six months, just as has the number of murders in the fight against organized crime, which has left at least 31,000 victims in its wake since it began a little over four years ago. During his period three journalists were murdered and one disappeared, with eight cases of aggression and threats against journalists, plus five cases of attacks on the facilities of print and electronic journalism. Beyond acts of violence, other incidents have been recorded that seek to throttle freedom of the press. On the early morning of March 31, the newspaper Novedades de Quintana Roo, published by the Sipse Group, suffered a boycott on the part of a group that was able to restrict circulation of the paper on that day. At midnight when the press was turning out the last copies, people claiming to be “very influential” appeared at the paper to buy the entire run with cash, an unprecedented request which was refused. Later on, that same group bought all copies at points of sale, preventing readers from getting copies at a number of places throughout paper’s area of circulation. In spite of the actions of the federal government, it has not been possible to stop the impunity that exists for crimes that have occurred in recent years; and journalists have no guarantees to carry out their work, which has led some to leave Mexico to take refuge in other countries. National and international organizations affirm that Mexico continues to be very dangerous for journalism. In December of last year, a Forum of Newspapers on the Border was held in El Paso, Texas, where some 100 editors, journalists, and academics participated at the invitation of the American Association of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), and the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). It was concluded that the worst enemies facing media and journalists along the northern border of Mexico are the impunity and violence generated by organized crime. The National Commission on Human Rights announced that in regard to the situation of journalists and defenders of human rights, during 2010, 80 complaints were received and investigated of presumed violations of the human rights of journalists and other communicators, and nine injunctions were issued. Aggression against the profession of journalism represents not only a direct attack on the existence of the rule of law and freedom of expression, but also the ineffectiveness of competent authorities, which translates into impunity, according to the organization. “It is necessary to recognize the position of journalists as a profession that has suffered an increase of aggression against its human rights, so that it is imperative to protect the essential duties that they perform in benefit of the country’s public life, in particular in those cases in which information professionals cover high-risk situations,” stressed the NCHR. From the year 2000 to the present, the National Commission on Human Rights has received 608 complaints about actions taken against journalists and has recorded 66 murders of communicators and 12 disappearances, including that of Alfredo Jiménez Mota, a reporter for El Impercial, on April 2, 2005. Over the past five years, it has also recorded 18 attacks on media facilities. During this period, the five areas with the greatest number of incidents against journalists were the Federal District, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Chihuahua and Chiapas. And human rights that are most vulnerable are legal security, freedom, legality, integrity and personal safety. In the city of Merida on November, 2010 a meeting was held of the Special Commission to Follow up on Aggression Against Journalists and Communications Media of the Federal Chamber of Deputies, with members from the IAPA. The president of the Commission, María Yolanda Valencia Vales, gave the first semi-annual report on activities of the organization that she represents in which she stressed the following points: The existence of several points of agreement to urge the Special Prosecutor for Attention on Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression, the Federal District Prosecutor’s Office, and the Prosecutor’s Offices of the various states, to intensify their investigative work and solve cases of murder of journalists. Up to the present time, Mexico has not fulfilled its promise to push for the federalization of crimes against journalists and the creation of a system of protection, as President Felipe Calderón committed last year before international delegations of the IAPA and the Committee for Protection of Journalists. At the national level, on March 24 of this year, the second edition of the “Initiative Mexico” was presented, which is a social program by which citizens and institutions are called upon to participate with testimonies and projects that will have an impact on the future of the country. During this event, more than 50 media organizations signed an agreement for covering the violence recorded in Mexico, which sets common goals, guiding principles, and editorial criteria. The media that signed that agreement indicate that they reject violence, they promote citizen participation and propose actions to preserve freedom of expression and report responsibly. In this act there were representatives of civil society, the business community, and academics present. On deaths of journalists during this period the following cases were reported: On November 5, a reporter for the Expreso de Matamoros in the municipality of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Carlos Alberto Guajardo Romero died during an encounter between federal police and armed individuals. On February 9, Rodolfo Ochoa Moreno, 25, who worked as a technician for Multimedios, was accosted by an armed group as he entered the facilities of the radio station to get equipment. On March 8, Noel López Olguín disappeared. He was a contributor to the weeklies La Verdad and Noticias de Acayucan in Veracruz. His vehicle was found without any trace of him. On March 25, Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo, a photographer for the daily La Prensa of Monclova, Coahuila, was murdered. He had been abducted with the host of a program on Televisa Monterrey, José Luis Cerda Meléndez, who was also murdered. Among acts of aggression against journalists, the following are of note: On October 31, Jorge Alejandro Medellín, a reporter for the magazine Milenio Semanal, received death threats. On November 11, the Diario de Chihuahua reported that two of its print reporters had left the country after publishing the photograph of a man who had lost his life in an automobile accident, and receiving complaints about it. On December 1, Anabel Hernández, a journalist for the virtual magazine Reporte Índigo, asked the NCHR to intercede with competent authorities to protect her integrity, since her personal safety and that of her family were at risk. On December 20, in Mexico City, the home of the editor of the magazine Veredicto Popular, Rosario Olán, was hit by gunshots by unknown assailants from two moving vehicles. In January of this year, a reporter for Milenio Telelvision, Javier Vega, and cameraman Juan Carlos Martínez were attacked outside a home in Hidalgo that reportedly belonged to Martín Esparza. On March 1, the National Commission on Human Rights began an investigation of an act of aggression with a firearm committed against a correspondent for the AP news agency, Oswald Alonso Navarro, and a publicist for Radio Fórmula Morelos, Marco Antonio Vallejo Estrada, who was wounded. On March 5, the same National Commission on Human Rights filed a complaint in the case of Milton Martínez, an assistant in the correspondents’ office of Noticieros Televisa in Saltillo, Coahuila, who was the object of mistreatment. The reporter was detained and later released by uniformed individuals while covering an encounter between authorities and criminals in that city. That day aggression against Milton Martínez and Julián Ortega, a photographer for El Imparcial of Hermosillo made public. It had occurred some days before. Also during this half-year, numerous attacks occurred against media facilities: On November 10, in Acapulco, Guerrero, armed subjects shot at the facilities of the newspaper El Sur, causing material damages to the building and panic among employees, but with no injuries or deaths. On January 8, two grenades were launched against the facilities of Televisa in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, without exploding. On January 10, authorities in Nuevo León reported that they were studying security measures to be taken to protect the media, after armed men threw a grenade against the headquarters of the local newspaper El Norte, belonging to the Reforma Group. The attack occurred in the “La Silla” suburb. On March 31, the newspaper El Norte from Monterrey reported an act of aggression from a moving car. A man tossed a grenade against the La Silla facilities, located south of the city. No injuries were reported. This is the third incident at this branch in the past six months. The first occurred on September 20, 2010, the second on January 10, 2011; in both cases only material damages occurred.