E&P Pan-Am Briefs

By: Mark Fitzgerald

A black hole: Hopes for a decision on the prosecutor’s appeal in the Philip True murder case faded last month on the third anniversary of the discovery of the body of the San Antonio Express-News Mexico City correspondent in a shallow grave in the remote Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range.

“The case has fallen in the black hole of Mexican justice, which is deliberately tangled so you can never arrive at the truth,” Homero Aridjis, a human-rights activist, told the Express-News. Two Huichol Indians who confessed to the murder were freed by a judge last summer in a decision that outraged free-press activists in the United States and Mexico.

… As of Christmas Eve, at least 11 Haitian journalists were reportedly hiding in foreign embassies or preparing to leave the nation after a wave of violence against reporters that included the Dec. 3 murder of Brignol Linder, the 31-year-old news director of Radio Eco 2000, who was hacked to death by a mob of machete-wielding supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

… Paraguay’s journalists work under dangerous conditions, including death threats, physical and verbal assaults, and other forms of intimidation, the Asuncion-based Union of Paraguayan Journalists said in its annual report on the state of free expression in the nation. The report warned that things could get worse this year, with the re-imposition of old laws that restrict access to information.

Alvaro Alonso Escobar, owner of the weekly Region in the Colombian state of Magdalena, was shot to death Dec. 23 in his house by an assailant who fled on a motorcycle, the Miami-based Inter American Press Association reported.

The Professional Federation of Quebec Journalists in Montreal relaunched Dec. 21 a protest Web site that 70 journalists of The Gazette in the same city dismantled after dismissal threats from their employer. The site (http://www.fpjq.org/canwest) protests CanWest Global Communications Corp.’s decision to require its papers to carry “national editorials” written at the chain’s Winnipeg headquarters.

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