Monday, March 30, 2009

Mayor Durán Muñoz Implicated in Shooting

SOURCE: Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET), Mexico City(CEPET/IFEX) - On the morning of 28 March 2009, the home of Juan Antonio Zavala Hernández, editor of the weekly "Mi Ciudad" was shot at in the municipality of Romita, Guanajuato state, central Mexico. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Zavala Hernández said the building, which also houses the "Mi Ciudad"offices, was hit 10 times. He added that he suspects the person behind the attack is Mayor Felipe Durán Muñoz, of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), who has been harassing him for some time.

The editor said that on the day of the incident, a wake was held at a house next door to his, and those in attendance who witnessed the attack told him that the assailants were travelling in a white Ford Explorer. According to Zavala Hernández, this description corresponds with that of a vehicle owned by the mayor.

Zavala Hernández said that Durán Muñoz has harassed him and other "Mi Ciudad" employees on several occasions. The last time was on 18 March.

In December 2008, Zavala Hernández and reporter Carlos Durán Rangel launched a criminal complaint against Durán Muñoz for causing injury, issuing death threats and damaging equipment.

A the beginning of December, the "Mi Ciudad" editor received a telephone call from an unidentified individual who said, "Stop publishing lies because your lives are in danger." Zavala Hernández said that although the person did not identify himself, he realised that it was the mayor.

Two days later, Durán Muñoz assaulted Durán Rangel, a reporter and photographer for "Mi Ciudad". The incident took place when Durán Rangel went to a location where arrangements had been made for him to take promotional photographs. The mayor also destroyed Durán Rangel's camera.

Zavala Hernández told CEPET that "Mi Ciudad" has published a number of complaints made by citizens about the mayor's administration, in addition to photographs that show Durán Muñoz in a drunken state.

According to Zavala Hernández, Durán Muñoz initiated legal action against "Mi Ciudad" for "damaging his image" and "extortion" but the complain tfailed to proceed because there was no evidence to support hit claims.

CEPET calls on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation in order to bring those responsible for the attack on Zavala Hernández to justice.

The organisation views attacks on journalists and media outlets as an attack on society as a whole since it jeopardises the right of citizens to receive information.

For further information on the Durán Rangel case, see:

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