09 March 2015


WHEREAS, Veracruz, the state where in January of this year journalist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo was tortured and killed, is the Mexican state in which most journalists have been murdered, kidnapped, gone missing, have been threatened, attacked, harassed and driven for lack of any guarantees provided by the government regarding the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. WHEREAS, on February 5, 2014 journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz was kidnapped and murdered and despite the fact that six people were arrested and put on trial, the remaining perpetrators and masterminds have yet to be captured; though even more serious is that at any moment those accused could be acquitted of this crime due to a deficient investigation and evidence.  Furthermore, the journalist’s family has received threats for demanding justice and the authorities have not complied with their commitment to provide them with effective security. WHEREAS, attacks on installations, property or people connected to the work of news media, as a consequence of the denunciations of corruption and lack of security published by them, continue to be reported and are carrying out with greater frequency and more violence.  There were three attacks in less than three weeks: on January 29, Molotov cocktails were hurled just a few feet from the offices of El Heraldo de Córdoba in Veracruz; on February 6, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, the offices of Televisa del Noroeste suffered a grenade attack that injured two security guards, and on February 15, unidentified assailants shot at a truck that was distributing the newspaper Reforma in Mexico state where news vendors were working, resulting in one of them being injured. WHEREAS, threats against members of the public using social media continues to grow and spread as a means for reporting on violence in the absence of information on the part of traditional news media and the vacuum created by the authorities themselves in the face of situations of risk, without the authorities investigating and bringing those responsible to court. WHEREAS, the obligatory displacement of journalists to the interior or outside the country because of threats continues to be a serious problem and the federal and state governments are not confronting the causes of this. Only in the last month, two journalists fled to the United States, Enrique Juárez, news editor of Matamoros, Tamaulipas newspaper El Mañana, who was kidnapped and tortured for several hours on February 4. WHEREAS, the work of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression is deficient because it continues to lack financial and human resources and it has been impossible to carry out work in coordination with the Assistant Prosecutor Specializing in the Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO) and State Prosecutors’ offices throughout the country; neither does the Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders of the Interior Ministry exhibit appropriate and solid work. WHEREAS, Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, 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 IAPA MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES To call on the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression of the Attorney-General’s Office also to investigate the murders of Moisés Sánchez Cerezo and Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz and criminally charge those responsible who could be public officials, and who with these murders sought to silence the rest of the news media and curtail the fundamental rights of citizens. To urge the government of Veracruz to publicize the investigations into the disappearance of Jesús Mejía Lechuga and Evaristo Ortega Zárate and the murders of Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán, Manuel Gabriel Fonseca Hernández, Guilllermo Luna Varela, Gabriel Huge Córdova and Esteban Rodríguez Rodríguez, as these cases remain unresolved and the lack of any punishment encourages further attacks. To urge the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression of the Attorney-General’s Office to publicize any progress made in the investigation of the murders of the journalists which occurred in Veracruz and which falls under its jurisdiction: Raúl Gibb Guerrero, Roberto Marcos García, Noel López Olguín, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, Misael López Solana and Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, as they remain unpunished and it is essential to bring them into the open as they constitute an attack against a fundamental right. To set a deadline for the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression of the Attorney- General’s Office to take up, urgently investigate and arrest those responsible for the attacks on offices, property and vendors of various news media in Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and in Mexico state, as well as the attacks carried out and threats made against members of the public who use social media to report on situations of risk and who have suffered direct threats in those same Mexican states. To urge the Mexican Attorney-General, in its next term in office, to provide the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression with staff and the financial resources to carry out serious, in-depth and effective work, because to date its results are limited and few and it cannot take on cases for lack of specialized staff and enough funds to set it in motion and provide it with the capacity to act.