By: E&P Staff
On the eve of Felipe Calderon’s inauguration as Mexican president Friday, the Inter American Press Association urged him to bring an end to the impunity protecting those who murdered three journalists in the month of November alone.
So far this year, seven journalists have been murdered in Mexico.
Protection of journalists and prosecution of the gunmen and masterminds behind their murders “should be a priority on the agenda of President-elect Felipe Calderon as soon as he takes office,” declared IAPA President Rafael Molina, editor of the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic newspaper El Dia.
Calderon takes office for a single six-year term not only amid a period of political turmoil in which millions of Mexicans are rejecting his extremely narrow election victory over a leftist candidate — but amid escalating violence against Mexican journalists, especially along the border with the United States where feuding drug cartels and their corrupt allies among police and military violently silence investigative reporting.
The most recent victim was Roberto Marco Garcia, a police beat reporter for magazines in Veracruz and Mexico City. He was murdered Nov. 21 on a highway in the Veracruz state by a van full of people who knocked over the moped he was riding, exited the van and shot him at point-blank range with 9mm caliber pistols. They fled in another vehicle waiting nearby.
Garcia was 40 years old.
IAPA said colleagues on both magazines said he had told them of receiving threats recently.
Molina noted that while the motive for Garcia’s murder was not yet clear, “it is not difficult to imagine that given the kind of execution it was an attempt to silence an annoying voice.”
According to information compiled by the IAPA, also murdered in Mexico during 2006 were journalists Jaime Arturo Olvera Bravo, in Michoacan state on March 9; Ramiro Tepllez Contreras, in Tamaulipas on March 10; Enrique Perea Quintanilla in Chihuahua on August 9; Bradley Ronald Hill, the U.S. citizen also known as Brad Will, in Oaxaca on October 27; Misael Tamayo Hernandez in Guerrero on November 10; and Jose Manuel Nava Sanchez in Mexico City on November 16.
Two other journalists disappeared this year and are feared: Rafael Ortiz Martinez who went missing in Coahuila July 8, and Alfredo Jiminez Mota, whose whereabouts have been unknown since April 2.
IAPA is dedicating a July 2007 conference in Santo Domingo to the problem of impunity, the press and the judiciary.