Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Attacks on Mexican Journalists Escalate

Miguel Ángel López Velasco is the 75 journalist to have been murdered in Mexico since 2000 and 13 others have disappeared. The government's war against drug-traffickers has cost about 40,000 lives since December 2006. Many cases have suggested the involvement of corrupt police and/or provincial officials.

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Around 5:30 a.m. on 20 June 2011, a group of armed gunmen broke into the home of journalist Miguel Ángel López Velasco, who had been working as deputy director of the "NOTIVER" daily. The gunmen shot López Velasco, his wife Agustina Solana and his son, Misael López Solana. His son had specialised in photography of police operations. The Veracruz Prosecutor's Office announced that it would be investigating the incident.

López Velasco was known for his work as a columnist and for his investigations into drugtrafficking in the 1990s. His son Misael had begun a career as a photographer and was known to accompany his father and work with NOTIVER, providing pictures for their police and public safety sections. The journalistic work of father and son has resulted in investigators looking into the link to free expression as their principal line of investigation.

In May 2006, the state government announced the creation of a State Commission for the Protection of Journalists, but attacks against the press have continued. In 2009, Veracruz was the state with the second highest number of recorded incidents of this nature, while in 2010 there was a total of 10 cases, the majority of which are thought to be perpetrated by government officials.

The killing of López Velasco is the second attack on a director of a media outlet in less than two weeks. On 7 June the "Novedades" ews editor disappeared in Guerrero state. As in 2010, the month of June has so far been the most violent for the press.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with the family of López Velasco, as well as NOTIVER personnel and the rest of the media community in Veracruz.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the state government to quickly investigate the case and offer security measures to the staff of NOTIVER and their families so that they can continue to do their work. Finally, ARTICLE 19 calls on media outlets and journalists in Mexico to join in the call for justice and to take on the investigative work that López Velasco had started.

For more information:

ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
United Kingdom
info (@) article19.org
Phone: +44 20 7324 2517
Fax: +44 20 7490 0566

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