31 October 2013

March 2013, Puebla



Impunity Committee

Puebla, Mexico

March 8-11, 2013


This report covers the period from the 2012 General Assembly to this Midyear Meeting Regarding fundraising to maintain the activities of the Committee, conversations are continuing with the Knight Foundation, to which will be presented a calendar of items to fund – on a smaller scale – activities of the program this year. As we reported at the São Paulo General Assembly the financial sponsorship with the Knight Foundation ended in June last year. Another proposal, which included a program of forums on prevention and solidarity to fight the violence in Mexico and Central America, was presented to UNESCO last year. Response is expected in April or May. The MacArthur Foundation suggested submitting to them a proposal in April that comprises a unity of the media in Mexico as one of the responses to confront the violence against journalists and the press. The state of cases submitted by the IAPA to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: + In the case of Hernando Rangel Moreno of Colombia, murdered in 1999, the IACHR reported in November that it had accepted for study the IAPA’s denunciation, submitted to the Inter-American agency in 2000. The IAPA accepted an IACHR proposal for an amicable agreement in the case, a response is awaited from the government of Colombia. + In the case of Irma Flaquer of Guatemala the IAPA reported to the IACHR in November on the status of compliance with the recommendations of the 2001 amicable agreement with the Guatemalan government. It notified that there has not been compliance with the commitment to create a journalism studies scholarship, and insisted on the full resolution of the case regarding investigation, trial and punishment of the perpetrators and masterminds. Flaquer disappeared in 1980 and is presumed dead. + In the case of Manoel Leal de Oliveira of Brazil, the IAPA reported to the IACHR that the Brazilian government had complied with two of the three commitments in the 2009 amicable agreement (payment of indemnity to the journalist’s family and the holding of a ceremony in homage to him). It also notified that there has not been carried out the recommendation seeking the reopening of the process to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime. Leal de Oliveira was murdered in 1998. + In the case of Jorge Vieira of Brazil, the IACHR reported to the IAPA in November that the denunciation, submitted to the agency in 2010, remains under investigation. Vieira was murdered in 2001. + In the case of Santiago Leguizamón of Paraguay, murdered in 1991, the possibility is being studied of beginning talks with representatives of the Paraguayan government in Washington, D.C., who have expressed a readiness to move ahead in the amicable solution discussions. Since the São Paulo General Assembly: 4 journalists murdered, 1 missing + Jaime Guadalupe Gonzalez, editor and journalist of the online newspaper Ojinaganoticias.com.mx, in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was murdered on March 3, 2013. + Mafaldo Bezerra Goes, host of a radio program on FM Jaguaribe, in the municipality of Jaguaribe, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil. He was murdered on February 22, 2012. + Guillermo Quiroz Delgado, a freelance journalist who worked for several radio stations, the newspaper El Meridiano and the television newscast “Notisabanas” in Sincelejo, Sucre, Colombia. As he was covering a protest police detained him and confiscated his motorcycle because apparently he did not have the required documentation. He was understood to have been beaten by a police officer and thrown from an official truck in which he was being transported. He was hospitalized on November 20, 2012, and died seven days later. + Adrián Silva Moreno, a freelance journalist, was a stringer covering the police beat for Global México, Radio 11.70 de Tehuacán and the newspaper Puntual Puebla, among other media. He was murdered on November 14, 2012 in Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico. During these last six month there were other murders in Brazil and Paraguay which were not included in this report due to the fact that the official investigations showed the motives for the crimes were of a personal nature. Disappeared: Adela Jazmín Alcaraz López, host of the news program broadcast by cable television station Canal 12 in Rioverde, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. She has been missing since October 26, 2012. Activities: + Ronald Koven, of the World Press Freedom Committee, represented the IAPA at the United Nations 2nd Inter-Agencies Meeting held in Vienna, Austria, November 22-23. The meeting had as its objective finalization of the 2013-2014 Implementation Strategy for the United Nations Action Plan on Safety of Journalists and the Question of Impunity, which will be put under way initially in Iraq, South Sudan, Pakistan and Nepal, to then be extended to Latin America. The U.N. Action Plan seeks, among other things, to work more effectively and directly with governments; to strengthen the alliances between competent organizations in order to take full advantage of and share information and suitable practices; to raise sensibility at global and national levels concerning this issue and improve preventive measures, on establishing security precautions that include a special training, life insurance for journalists and response mechanisms in case of emergency. In accordance with this matter, this year UNESCO will dedicate celebration of World Press Freedom Day to the safety of journalists and the question of impunity, as well as security on the Internet. The main commemoration ceremony will be held in San José, Costa Rica, on May 3. + Campaign: The IAPA in November participated in the campaign of the global network for free speech (IFEX) for the 2012 World Anti-Impunity Day. Posted on the Web site www.impunidad.com were announcements about the campaign, calling for action to demand justice in murders of journalists around the world. + Geography of Risks blog – The news blog on risks to journalists in the region is remaining active. It is updated constantly with up-to-the-minute news in this regard. The Geography of Risks blog has had more than 60,500 visits. Its content amounts to 153 news entries. + During the past six months (to February 7) five press releases were issued on Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Paraguay. Cases that have been followed up in these last six months: Brazil: Valério Luiz de Oliveira. On February 2, 2013 arrested and accused of being the alleged instigator of the July 5, 2012 murder was Maurício Borges Sampaio. Also arrested and linked to the crime were Marcus Vinícius Pereira Xavier, confessed killer, Urbano Carvalho de Malta and Jalma Gomes da Silva. Brazil: Nicanor Linhares Batista. On December 5 accused of being the instigator of the 23003 murder was Judge José Maria Lucena. Colombia: Guillermo Quiroz Delgado. Early in February a police officer, Jorge David Pérez, was accused of the journalist’s murder. Honduras: Alfredo Villatoro. On October 18, 2012 it was decided to put on trial Marvin Alonso Gómez, Osman Fernando Osorio Arguijo and Edgar Francisco Osorio Arguijo, for the abduction and May 2012 murder that shocked the nation. Mexico: Regina Martínez Pérez. In October 2012 Jorge Antonio Hernández Silva, “el Silva,” was accused of being the alleged perpetrator of the April 27, 2012 murder. Also named in the crime was José Adrián Hernández Domínguez, “el Jarocho,” who is on the run. The authorities  established that the murder was believed to have been committed for personal reasons. The conclusions of the official investigation into the murder were rejected by the magazine Proceso, of which Martínez was a correspondent. Finally, in Chile we learned that the government in October 2012 asked the United States government for the extradition of Ray E. Davis, commander of the U.S. Military Mission in Chile in 1973, for the murders of U.S. citizens Charles Horman, script and documentary writer, and Frank Teruggi, a journalism student living in Chile. Positive developments to combat impunity: In Brazil, the government in December announced that it is studying the creation of a program to protect journalists in order to combat an increase in cases of violence against members of the press. Also in Brazil, in November a bill to amend the penal code was presented to stiffen penalties for the murder of journalists. If passed, the bill would increase the minimum sentence from six to 12 years and the maximum from 20 to 30 years. Another bill debated in the Brazilian Congress would make the murder of a journalist a criminal offense, which would require such crimes to be investigated by the Federal Police and not by state civil police. For its part, the National Federation of Journalists of Brazil (Fenaj) in November set up a Commission for Memory, Truth and Justice to investigate cases of censorship, murders, disappearances and other forms of violence and of restrictions of the work of journalists occurring between 1964 and 1985. The report on the cases will be delivered to the National Truth Commission (CNV), created last year to investigate that military dictatorship period. Another attempt to confront violence in Brazil is in the hands of the Presidency’s Human Rights Department which on October 24, 2012 established the Working Group on Human Rights of Members of the Press, made up of members of the government and entities in the communication sector and the Human Rights Department. The Working Group will review complaints regarding the state of violence against media and journalists, which will be sent to the competent bodies; it will propose actions to establish a system of monitoring of complaints and the means to improve public policies in this regard. In Mexico In Mexico, in November 2012 there was set up the Government Board on Measures for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, within the framework of the law enacted in April 2012 to safeguard the life and integrity of freedom of expression professionals and those defending human rights. Upcoming activities: It is planned to hold in Honduras in April a meeting to follow up the commitments of the “Tegucigalpa Action Plan,” a document derived from the August 2012 conference “Safety, Protection and Solidarity for Freedom of Expression,” in which are considered public reforms for investigation of crimes against journalists, ensure their protection and prosecute those responsible in special courts, and several legislative bills to ensure the safety and protection of journalists. Of the offers made by the President within the framework of the conference to date not one has yet crystallized. The murders of and attacks on members of the press and on news media occurring in recent years continue to go unpunished. Available are funds of the Open Society Foundations, one of the sponsors of the above- mentioned activity. It will be held in conjunction with the Association of News Media (AMC) of Honduras and the participation of local members of the IAPA.