IAPA Midyear Meeting 2017

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

March 31 – April 3


The climate of violence has persisted in Mexico. Five journalists were killed in the past six months, and four publishing companies have been attacked with gunfire and explosives since the start of the year.

On March 23, Miroslava Breach Velducea was shot multiple times and killed in Chihuahua while driving her son to school. A man approached her and shot her eight times with a .38-caliber weapon. The journalist had worked for more than 15 years as a correspondent for La Jornada, as well as for various media outlets in the northern part of Mexico. After the murder of the journalist, the director of North of Ciudad Juárez, Oscar Cantú, made the decision not to continue printing the newspaper after 27 years of circulation "because, among other things, there are no guarantees or security to exercise Critical journalism, counterweight. " "The deadly attacks, as well as the impunity against the journalists have been in evidence, preventing us to continue freely with our work," Cantu said.

On March 19, journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera was killed by multiple gunshots in the municipality of Yanga, state of Veracruz, while eating at a restaurant. He was editor of the "Crisol" column in El Sol de Córdoba and owner of the website He was also president of the Association of Journalists and News Photographers of Córdoba.

On March 2, Cecilio Pineda Brito was killed in Pungarabato in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero state. He was a contributor to La Jornada Guerrero. He wrote for El Debate de los Calentanos, and his Facebook page had more than 31,000 followers.

On December 10, journalist Adrián Rodríguez Samaniego was killed in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. He was approached by unidentified individuals and shot to death as he was driving away from his home. He had been working as a reporter for several years, and at the time of his death was contributing to a local radio station.

On November 18, Mario Delgadillo Ramos, a photojournalist for the mayor's office of Texcoco, state of Mexico, was killed.

Also in Veracruz, Armando Arrieta Granados, news editor at La Opinión, was attacked outside his home in Poza Rica on March 28. The journalist is seriously injured. In 2005 the owner of La Opinión, Raúl Gibb Guerrero, was killed.

The authorities at all three levels of government (municipal, state, federal) are often responsible for attacks on the press, even more so than organized crime. The police have become one of the primary culprits in assaults on the press, and media outlets resort to self-censorship to protect themselves.

A number of local media outlets have declined to report certain news items, and therefore social media have become an alternative source of information.

Feeling pressure from the government, the national press fails to report on assaults or acts of harassment against local journalists and media outlets.

Mexico is considered the most dangerous place in the Americas to work as a journalist. According to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), 119 killings have been reported since 2000, with 12 of them involving female victims. The CNDH also said that 50 attacks on offices of media outlets have occurred since 2000. In the past six years, out of 798 police investigations into alleged assaults on journalists, only three people have been convicted. Meanwhile, 30 journalists have been killed since Enrique Peña Nieto took office as president.

In the wake of the three killings in only one month, a senator for the National Action Party asked Attorney General Raúl Cervantes to appear before the Senate to report on the work of of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE). The senators are questioning the high costs of FEADLE in view of its ineffectiveness.

Puebla remains one of the five most dangerous states for journalists. Former governor Rafael Moreno Valle attacked, threatened, and brought court cases through third parties against journalists, threatening their personal and financial stability as well as their freedom.

Journalists criticized Moreno Valle for using public money to support his campaign to become president of Mexico.

Mexico's Supreme Court is considering a petition from two political parties — the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) — to allow those who feel harmed or aggrieved by a published news item, regardless of whether the information was accurate or false, to invoke the right of reply in accordance with the Law on the Right of Reply.

In late January, the Office of the President submitted to the Supreme Court a constitutionality claim against the Federal Law on Telecommunications and Radio Broadcasting, which has been in effect since 2014, arguing that the law violates the Constitution by calling for censorship. The same office also petitioned the Federal Telecommunications Institute, an independent agency of the executive branch, to postpone the implementation of guidelines that would be harmful to freedom of expression. These guidelines had been set to take effect in mid-February.

According to the IAPA, the regulations governing the telecommunications industry, which purport to defend "the rights of audiences," interfere in the content of online media, establish criteria for "accuracy," and impose explicit divisions between news, opinion, and advertising, among other restrictions. They also impose heavy fines that, upon multiple offenses, could lead to the closure of media outlets.

Chronology of significant developments:

On November 30, journalist Iris Velázquez of the state of Mexico arrived at La Condesa Mountain, in the municipality of the same name, to cover the eviction of squatters from the Las Cruces and Loma Larga properties. State police arrested her along with 26 other people. Velázquez identified herself and requested help from a man who was supposedly a state prosecutor, but this man mocked her instead. A man dressed in civilian clothing humiliated the journalist by forcing her to wear her shoes backwards and spitting on her numerous times.

She was also molested by a female police officer who touched her private areas.

On December 12, reporter Citlalli Cruz López of the newspaper Noticias in Oaxaca was publicly and derisively called a "fugitive from the mealing stone" (roughly, a "country bumpkin") after she wrote an article accusing Felipe Noel Cruz Pinacho, general secretary of the Union of Oaxaca State Government Workers, of going into hiding to avoid having to explain why 177 million pesos are missing from the workers' pension fund.

On December 26, journalist Yohali Reséndiz, a reporter for Grupo Imagen in Mexico City, reported that a man broke her car window and left vulgar, intimidating messages inside her car.

On December 31, shots were fired at the front door of the home of journalist Gabriel Valencia Juárez in Guachochi, Chihuahua. The editor of Norawa newspaper and contributor to El Heraldo de Chihuahua had previously been threatened and assaulted in connection with published articles.

On January 7, Laura Sánchez Ley, a correspondent for El Universal newspaper; her husband, Luis Alonso Pérez, a contributor to Animal Político and Univision; and Jesús Bustamante, a photographer for Frontera newspaper, were assaulted by federal and state police officers while covering the eviction of protestors from the Pemex plant in Tijuana, Baja California.

On January 28, reporter Olmo Martínez, who covers the bullfighting beat, was assaulted in Querétaro by bullfighter Alejandro Martínez while trying to arrange interviews with a number of bullfighters.

On February 10, reporter Alejandra Marina Martínez was assaulted by prosecutor Juan Bernardo Corona while recording citizen complaints about the wave of violence in Puerto Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán.

On February 17, the news program "Así es la Noticia Tercera Emisión" was taken off the air after its host, Jairo Cerriteño, refused to remove from the "Monitor Expreso" website an article that displeased Governor Silvano Aureoles.

On February 23, 2017, the editor of La Voz de Tierra Caliente in Michoacán was attacked by two youths aboard a motorcycle.

On March 5, journalist Roberto Arellano Díaz, editor of the online newspaper Info Metrópoli in La Piedad, Michoacán, was beaten while covering an event. The assailant has close ties to Jonathan Bañales, a local politician, and reproached him for certain articles that had been published.

On March 8, journalist Gilberto Israel Navarro of the newspaper AM Express in Guanajuato was struck by a vehicle driven by Jorge Rodríguez, son of municipal councilwoman Silvia Rocha of the PRD, in retaliation for an article on irregularities.

On March 8, journalist José Luis Morales of Hidrocálido in Aguascalientes reported police harassment and defamation. Morales claims that the police tried to detain him after a failed smear campaign, wherein the head of the Infolínea news program appeared before the state attorney general's office and requested proof that no arrest warrants or prosecutions were pending against him. Days earlier, persons claiming to be federal agents appeared at his home to arrest him, and he had been subjected to threats and pressure that he attributed to a group with ties to local politics.

On March 15, state security agents in Saltillo assaulted and searched the home of journalist and radio personality José Cruz González of El Diario de Coahuila.