Year starts badly for Mexican journalists

first_img The western hemisphere’s deadliest country, Mexico sinks deeper into violence by the day. Journalists are threatened, kidnapped and murdered with alarming impunity in the eastern state of Veracruz. News media are the targets of armed attacks in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. Reporters Without Borders offers an overview of the current situation of news and information providers in Mexico at the start of 2015Although not in the throes of any armed conflict, Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for media personnel. In 2014, it was the deadliest in the Americas, with three journalists killed in a clear connection with their work. A women blogger was also killed.Collusion between organized crime and government officials or politicians poses a grave threat to news and information providers and obstructs the work of the police and judicial system at all levels. Two of the three journalists killed in 2014, Octavio Rojas Hernández in the southern state of Oaxaca and Jorge Torres Palacio in Veracruz, were investigating links between officials and organized crime. So too was María del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, a blogger killed in Tamaulipas.News media are increasingly being targeted. A truck carrying copies of the newspaper La Reforma was riddled with bullets in the central state of Mexico on 15 February, injuring one person.“Attacks on news and information providers are taking place at an alarming rate as 2015 gets under way,” said Claire San Filippo, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.“What are the Mexican authorities doing? Will they continue to look the other way as news outlets are forced to give up covering violence, drug trafficking and corruption, and as journalists flee the country? The authorities must end the almost total impunity that breeds fear and self-censorship. The inaction and complicity must stop.”Dangers in Veracruz stateThe state of Veracruz is one of Mexico’s most dangerous regions for journalists. They are often watched, threatened, harassed, physically attacked or killed if they dare to cover crime, drug cartels or corruption.The figures speak for themselves. Since the start of 2010, four journalists have gone missing and 11 others have been killed, including Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz in February 2014 and Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, whose death was confirmed by a DNA test on 5 February 2015.The authorities try to deny the reality. Although the figures are indisputable, Veracruz officials have repeatedly misrepresented what is taking place. After Jiménez’s death in 2014, Veracruz state interior minister Erick Lagos said it was probably a personal act of revenge or retaliation, and that it was “unacceptable” to link it to his journalistic work.When Sánchez was kidnapped, the local authorities initially tried to deny that he was a journalist, saying he was a taxi driver who “just posted on social networks.”Ineffective justice. In both cases, the lack of cooperation between Veracruz officials (the state prosecutor’s office) and federal officials (the Federal Prosecutor’s office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression) has badly hurt the investigation and chances of the crimes ever being solved.“We are worried because I have seen a series of irregularities in the investigation being conducted by the Veracruz state prosecutor’s’ office,” said Sánchez’s son, Jorge Sánchez Ordóñez. “We don’t trust the investigation.”Jiménez’s widow, Carmela Hernández Osorio, also criticizes the local authorities. Her husband’s murder is still unpunished a year later. Despite the protection provided by the Veracruz authorities, she has been threatened and intimidated three times and has requested protection under the federal mechanism for protecting human rights defenders and journalists.Frequent threats. There is much tension and other journalists have been threatened. When Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Heraldo de Córdoba newspaper from a distance of less than a metre on 29 January, editor Daniela Jácome clearly feared another attempt to deny reality because she wrote in a Facebook post: “We demand that the authorities solve this case and not minimize what we have just undergone.”Threats have also been made against Patricia Iveth Morales Ortiz, a photographer with the Imagen del Golfo news agency and Verónica Huerta, who works for AVC Noticias de Veracruz. Huerta received a threatening message on 1 February. Alluding to Moisés Sánchez, it said: “Cow, it will be your turn after Moisés. We are watching you, bitch.”Inaction encouraging journalists to fleeThreats and violence against news providers and a failure to punish those responsible are not limited to Veracruz. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 89 percent of crimes against journalists go unpunished. Neither the Federal Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression nor the federal mechanism for protecting human rights defenders and journalists have managed to improve the situation. Police and judicial investigations are often closed quickly or are paralyzed by cumbersome bureaucratic procedures.Because of the lack of an effective police and judicial system and the lack of effective protection, some journalists feel obliged to flee the country after receiving threats to themselves and their families.This was the case with Enrique Juárez, the editor of El Mañana, a newspaper based in Matamoros, a city adjoining the US border in Tamaulipas state, after he was kidnapped and roughed up by gunmen for four hours on 4 February because of his coverage of the endemic violence in Matamoros and the frequent clashes between police and armed gangs.The newspaper’s management said he fled with his family to the United States in order to protect them. Regretting the deterrent effect of his abduction, the newspaper also announced that, as a safety measure, it would no longer provide any coverage of violence.Two days later, a grenade attack on Matamoros-based Televisa del Noreste injured two of the TV station’s security guards.Moisés Villeda Rodríguez, a journalist based in Ciudad Juarez (in the northern state of Chihuahua) fled across the border seeking asylum in January after receiving threats in connection with articles about corruption that he wrote for the newspaper El Mexicano. One of the threats took the form of a dismembered cat that was left with a sign saying “Shut up!” outside a radio station where he worked.The threats increased after the Chihuahua Journalists Forum nominated him for the José Vasconcelos Prize for a report entitled “Shocking poverty versus offensive opulence” about corruption and alleged collusion between government officials and drug traffickers. According to a Reporters Without Borders tally, he is the sixth Mexican journalist to have sought asylum in the United States since 2007.By taking no action in response to acts of intimidation and violence against journalists (when not actually colluding or participating in them), the Mexican authorities give a blank check for violations of freedom of information.The solution for Mexican journalists cannot be either to remain silent or to flee across the border to avoid violent reprisals. It is high time that the state assumed its responsibility for guaranteeing fundamental rights.Mexico is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. RSF_en MexicoAmericas NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say MexicoAmericas February 18, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Year starts badly for Mexican journalists Organisation Reports 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies News News May 13, 2021 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Mexico Reporter murdered in northwestern Mexico’s Sonora state News Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts May 5, 2021 Find out more April 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

24th Inter-American Naval Conference Kicks Off in Brazil

first_imgBy Dialogo September 16, 2010 Brazil is the host country of the Inter-American Naval Conference (CNI, for its acronym in Portuguese and Spanish), the most important forum bringing together Latin American Navies, say conference organizers. The 24th edition of the CNI is being held from September 13th through 17th, in Rio de Janeiro. “We want to promote hemispheric solidarity and also the just defense of the interests of each nation. It’s important to make our ties stronger and to make our diplomatic relations even better,” said Admiral Júlio Soares de Moura Neto, Brazilian Navy Commander during a press conference after the conference’s opening ceremony. Created in 1959 in order to foster permanent professional contacts between the Navies of the participating countries, the CNI provides a forum for exchanging ideas, knowledge and mutual understanding of maritime issues affecting the Americas. The Navies of the following countries sent representatives to the 24th CNI: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, USA, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In addition to these participants, delegations of the Inter-American Defense Board (JID) and the Naval Inter-American Telecommunications Network (RNIT) are also in attendance. During the Conference, various topics of naval interest will be discussed regarding the official theme of the 24th CNI: “Inter-American Maritime Security: awareness of regional maritime domain and mechanisms for its promotion; the deployment of naval power in maritime security and protection of natural resources; and issues of legal order”.last_img read more

Government COVID-19 policies disappoint public: Poll

first_imgThe government is under scrutiny for failing to meet public expectations in its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Politicians and members of the public have called the policies inconsistent and disappointing.A public opinion survey conducted by Jakarta-based pollster Indo Barometer between May 12 and 18 polled 400 respondents in seven provinces in Indonesia, including Jakarta, East Java and West Java – the three provinces hit hardest by the epidemic at the time of the survey.About 54 percent of the respondents said they were dissatisfied with the central government’s COVID-19 policies, mainly because of inconsistencies in rules, sluggish distribution of social aid, inaccurate social aid recipient data and late action to mitigate the outbreak. The government is now gearing up to gradually reopen the economy under health protocols to establish a so-called “new normal”, even as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise, leading many to question the decision.The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), in opposition to Jokowi’s government, has said it is no surprise that the government was inconsistent in handling the epidemic given that it had underestimated the impact of COVID-19 from the outset, instead of focusing on preventing the virus from reaching the country.“Every policy was decided in an instant,” PKS spokesman Ahmad Fathul Bari said on Wednesday. “The lack of public appreciation toward the government’s COVID-19 policies has arisen simply because the government has failed to prepare them thoroughly.”Critics had previously criticized the government for having a lower rate of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing than other Southeast Asian countries.Suyoto, a politician from the pro-government NasDem Party, said the government had no experience in handling any widespread epidemic before COVID-19, so it was understandable that its policies were “far from perfect”.Suyoto, who heads the party’s public policy department, said the government needed to give the public better explanations of the policies and the scientific arguments behind them.He cited the example of when Jokowi called on the public to make peace with the epidemic and live in the so-called “new normal” without giving any scientific arguments to support his appeal.Health Ministry expert staff member M. Subuh said the public’s trust in the government’s COVID-19 policies would eventually improve once they saw the overall positive impact of PSBB.He said he believed the policy had been effective in containing the disease because many local leaders had said it had helped flatten the infection curve in their respective regions.Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.As of Wednesday, PSBB remained in place in four provinces and 23 cities and regencies, but cities such as Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, Tegal in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi had decided not to extend the restrictions.Topics : About 46 percent of the respondents said, in the open-ended questions, that they were satisfied with the government’s response to the outbreak, believing that it had acted fast in handling the virus and had managed to contain the virus through the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).“Two major problems – social assistance distribution and inconsistent policies – must be resolved,” Indo Barometer executive director M. Qodari said in a statement on Tuesday.“I think it is best to say that President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo needs to change his policy in handling the epidemic to achieve a higher public satisfaction rate.”The government has issued a variety of policies since the first two COVID-19 cases were recorded in early March, including authorizing some regional administrations to impose PSBB individually and authorizing 405.1 trillion (US$ 27.06 billion) in extra spending to cushion the virus’ impact on the economy.last_img read more