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Friday, 16 November 2012

Freelance journalist murdered in Mexico

IPI and WAN-IFRA demand immediate investigation 

By: Scott Griffen, Press Freedom Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean

A photographer gets hostile environment training from Mexican Army special forces personnel at their military training camp in Temamatla, Mexico State, Mexico on October 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO

VIENNA and PARIS, Nov 16, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) today demanded that Mexican federal and state authorities immediately investigate the murder of a freelance journalist in the central Mexican state of Puebla on Wednesday.

According to local media, Adrián Silva Moreno, a contibutor to the newspaper Puntual, was gunned down in his car after having covered the discovery of a warehouse reportedly filled with stolen fuel near the city of Tehuacán, approximately two hours southeast of the state capital.

Two vehicles, a pick-up truck and a suburban, blocked Moreno’s path, before armed men inside opened fire, witnesses and Puntual said.  Reports indicated that the journalist was killed immediately, while a companion, who has been identified as a former municipal police officer, was shot in the head while attempting to escape. The assailants then fled the scene in the suburban. 

Silva Moreno is the 55th journalist killed as a consequence of reporting work in Mexico since 2006, according to IPI’s Death Watch, though the first in the state of Puebla during that same time period.  Last year, Mexico was the deadliest country in the world for the media and in 2012 remains the deadliest in the Western Hemisphere with 7 deaths. 

“This latest, brazen killing, committed in broad daylight, is a testament to the mortal threat facing journalists in Mexico,” IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said today.  “How many reporters need to die before the country’s stakeholders realize that the appalling violence against the media is not only costing precious lives but also eating away at the foundations of democracy?”

She added: “Our hearts go out to the family of Adrián Silva Moreno, but we are sick of issuing condolences and hoping for an investigation.  We want action and we want Mexican president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto to develop without delay a plan to end the impunity that is driving this vicious violence when he takes office on Dec. 1.”

“The Mexican press is facing a critical situation that is jeopardising the very core of the country's democracy," said Vincent Peyrègne, WAN-IFRA Chief Executive Officer. "The incoming administration needs to urgently tackle the issue with concrete and effective measures." 

IPI and WAN-IFRA publicly called on Mexico’s leading presidential candidates this summer and, later, Peña Nieto to work to combat the cycle of violence that has engulfed the Mexican news media.

In an IPI special feature to mark World Press Freedom Day last May, Marcela Turati of the magazine Proceso described how Mexican journalists have become “war correspondents” in their own country.  Earlier this year, a scientific study conducted by University of Toronto Professor Dr. Anthony Feinstein concluded that Mexican journalists exhibit levels of traumatic stress similar to that of war correspondents. 

WAN-IFRA's report "A Death Threat to Freedom - A Report on Violence Against Mexico's Press" published in September 2012 details the extent to which violence is undermining the media's existence in certain regions, as well as highlighting the ineffective response of authorities at federal, state and municipal levels.

 
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