Impunidad / México

WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón made a commitment in September 2010 to the Inter American Press Association to create a mechanism for protection of journalists and, one year later, it is still not in full operation; it has only dealt with eight cases and no funds have been requested for the 2012 budget year; WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón made a commitment to support the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression; however, that organization has only 11 people in it and it has not had its own budget since 2010 and has not been included for fiscal year 2012; WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón made a commitment to insist to Congress on the passing of laws that would permit the federalization of crimes committed against freedom of expression and to the present date this has not occurred; the same commitment was made by the leaders of the political parties represented in the Chamber; WHEREAS President Felipe Calderón also made a commitment to personally attend to the resolutions issued by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerning the two cases of murdered journalists, Víctor Manuel Oropeza and Héctor Félix Miranda; those resolutions oblige Mexico to continue the investigations and arrest all of the responsible parties, but none of that has occurred; WHEREAS In different cities of the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Guerrero, Michoacán, Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Sinaloa and Zacatecas journalism is commonly practiced under death threats and local and federal authorities do not act upon these threats; WHEREAS The authorities of Veracruz show a lack of interest and partiality in the violent crimes against journalists Yolanda Ordaz and Miguel Ángel López Velasco, along with his family, by making public statements demeaning the reporters, and without showing the backing of a serious and broad investigation, such that it would appear that conditions are not propitious to the resolution of these crimes by authorities; WHEREAS There exists an emergency situation in the state of Veracruz, since mafia groups have been threatening reporters and media companies to prevent the publication of any type of information that they do not find suitable; WHEREAS In different states the mafia groups continue using the placement of blankets and bodies, and detonation of explosive devices in the immediate areas around media facilities, as has happened in recent months in Coahuila, Sinaloa, Guerrero, and Veracruz, later issuing death threats against the journalists and trying to obligate them to disseminate information of interest to them; to date not a single person has been arrested for these actions that have direct impact on a free press; WHEREAS There are witnesses and ballistic evidence that link two presumed members of the group called Los Zetas to the crime against Valentín Valdés Espinosa, a reporter for the newspaper Zócalo de Saltillo, murdered in that city. The gang members had been arrested and submitted to trail for other cases. So far, the local authorities have not ordered an arrest warrant against those individuals, nor is there any indication that the investigation has moved ahead; WHEREAS It has been possible to confirm that the authorities of Tamaulipas are not continuing their investigation of the cases of journalists who have been murdered or who have disappeared in their state, under the allegation that it is not possible to obtain any further information; WHEREAS There has been an increase in the number of cases in which journalists have been detained for several hours by police or the Armed Forces in the states of Chihuahua, Veracruz, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Durango, with the intention of intimidating them and thus preventing them from doing their job; in addition, photographic materials, recorders, and cell phones have disappeared; WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly.” THE 67 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES: To demand of President Felipe Calderón that he consolidate and pursue in a serious and forcible manner the Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Defenders of Human Rights, granting it sufficient budget and a structure that has the authority to fulfill its responsibility: to prevent serious attacks against those who inform and those who defend human rights To call upon President Felipe Calderón to provide genuine operational capacity to the Special Prosecutor’s Office in order to give attention to crimes against freedom of expression, granting it sufficient authority to really carry out its job and not to continue to be a mere simulation To demand that President Felipe Calderón and members of the National Congress quickly pass the necessary reforms and protection measures in the next regular session in order to guarantee freedom of the press and to federalize crimes committed against freedom of expression to avoid impunity, and thus fulfill their commitment made to the IAPA To demand that President Felipe Calderón fulfill his commitment to attend to and support the resolutions issued by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, so that the Mexican state will not continue to be remiss and to act as an accomplice in the impunity that surrounds the violent crimes against Víctor Manuel Oropeza and Héctor Félix Miranda To demand that the federal government and the governments of each one of the states solve the cases of journalists who have been murdered or have disappeared, and to do so with genuine will and in an urgent and forceful manner, such that their omission will not continue to allow them to serve as accomplices to attacks on the freedom of expression Urgently to call on the governments of the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Guerrero, Michoacán, Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Sinaloa and Zacatecas, to guarantee the exercise of freedom of the press and of expression To demand of the federal government that one of its priorities in its operations in Veracruz be the protection of journalists and elimination of the risk of death that weighs over many of them To urge the federal government and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic that direct attacks on media facilities be treated as matters of high priority in order to arrest those responsible, as the only way to prevent repetition To demand that the government of the state of Tamaulipas and the General Prosecutor of Justice of the same state reopen their investigations of the murders and disappearances of journalists that have occurred in that state, in order to prevent impunity from continuing to foster more attacks and bring to an end the state’s omission which puts it in collusion with those who would attack freedom of expression To call upon the Armed Forces and the federal and state police to train their members in the proper way to act with media personnel when they are covering a story, and to prepare protocols for coverage in violent situations which may be known by both agents and reporters, in such a manner that both sides may work in respect to the law.