Unpunished violence against members of the press to be main topic at organization's upcoming meeting
MIAMI, Florida (September 24, 2018)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed concern at and condemnation of the murder of journalist Mario Leonel Gómez Sánchez, the eighth to be killed this year in Mexico. The hemisphere organization issued a public call on the government to investigate seriously, with respect and a sense of urgency, this and other unpunished cases of violence against Mexican journalists.
Gómez Sánchez, 40, correspondent of El Heraldo de México, was murdered last Friday, September 21, at around 5:00 p.m. outside his home in the town of Yajalón, Chiapas state. A man who was a passenger on a motorcycle shot him several times.
The murder of the journalist, who often denounced wrongdoing by Chiapas politicians and wrote about the increase in violence and murders in that part of the country, was caught on video. According to local media between 2008 and 2017 he had received threats that he reported to the State Attorney General's office.
"We offer our solidarity with and respect for the journalist's family and colleagues," declared IAPA President Gustavo Mohme. "Unfortunately Mexico continues occupying one of the top places regarding violence against journalists and the high degree of impunity in those cases, which the authorities should handle with seriousness, respect and a sense of urgency," added Mohme, editor of the Peruvian newspaper La República.
Roberto Rock, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said, "It does not cease to surprise us the level of violence being faced by Mexican members of the press, above all in the interior of the country, but what makes us even angrier is the lack of justice in almost all the cases, also making family members and all the press victims."
Rock, who is editor of the Mexican news portal La Silla Rota, declared that "the violence and impunity continue to be the principal brake on the free practice of journalism in the country where this year a total of eight journalists have been murdered."
Rock was referring to the murders of Rodolfo García González in Guanajuato on August 5, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib in Quintana Roo on June 29, Héctor González Antonio in Tamaulipas on May 29, Juan Carlos Huerta in Tabasco on May 15, Leobardo Vázquez Atzin in Veracruz on March 21, Pamela Montenegro del Real in Guerrero on February 5, and Carlos Domínguez in Tamaulipas on January 13.
Mohme and Rock said that the issue of violence and impunity and the protection of journalists is a matter of top priority for the organization which moreover will be raised during the General Assembly in Salta, Argentina, October 19-22.
According to statistics compiled by the IAPA in this year, 2018, there have been murdered 26 journalists in the Americas, in addition to one having disappeared in Haiti. Of those killed eight were in Mexico, six in the United States, four in Brazil, three in Ecuador, two in Colombia, two in Guatemala, and one in Nicaragua.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.