Mexico

2011


Blog   |   Mexico

The press silenced, Nuevo Laredo tries to find voice

Javier Soto plays his accordion as he searches for tourists in a vacant downtown market in Nuevo Laredo on January 26, 2006. (AP/Gregory Bull)

You don't notice it at first. Not with the people seemingly moving as normal on the sidewalks and the happy recorded music blaring across the plaza in front of city hall to announce the annual cowboy parade. No, at first Nuevo Laredo looks like a regular border town, until the military armored car goes by a block away and rotates the heavy machine gun toward the plaza. Are the soldiers just curious? Or do they see something they want to shoot? Who will be hit if they do open fire? Then other images come into focus, like the blocks of closed shops, with for sale signs only on the most recently closed because the owners of the older, more dilapidated shops, have given up even that hope.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Russia

Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research and why our numbers are different - invariably lower - than other organizations.

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Ríodoce attack shows need for denial-of-service defenses

A founder of Mexican news weekly Ríodoce, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, traveled to New York in November to receive CPJ's International Press Freedom Award at our annual benefit dinner. No sooner had he returned to Mexico than Ríodoce's website was thrown offline by a denial of service (DOS) attack, in which multiple computers are used to flood a webserver with fake requests, slowing down the site so that it cannot serve legitimate requests.

December 12, 2011 11:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, CPJ, Mexico, Pakistan

Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But the journalists honored last night at CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards had a clear message to their colleagues: Fight the power.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines

A call to continue the struggle against impunity

Umar Cheema, left, of Pakistan and Javier Valdez Cárdenas of Mexico, both 2011 International Press Freedom Award winners, are all too familiar with the culture of impunity. (CPJ)

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients unanimously expressed their commitment to fighting impunity in the murders of journalists.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican daily offices attacked by gunmen

New York, November 15, 2011--A group of unidentified gunmen attacked the premises of the Mexican daily El Siglo de Torreón early this morning, setting a car on fire and shooting at the building several times.

Around 2:40 a.m., at least three assailants parked two vehicles in front of the newspaper's offices in the city of Torreón in the northern state of Coahuila, the paper reported. They set one of the cars on fire in front of El Siglo's main door and left in the other. Before fleeing, the gunmen used assault rifles to spray the premises with about 20 bullets that police recovered at the scene, editor Javier Garza told CPJ. One of the offices suffered some damage, but there were no injuries, he said. Federal and state police, as well as members of the Mexican army, arrived at the scene shortly after the attack.

November 15, 2011 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels keep up social media intimidation

A marcher stops to write a peace slogan during an August 2011 protest against Mexican violence. (AP)

The dissemination of reports and graphic photos of a dead man, reportedly decapitated and left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo with a warning that he was murdered for using a chat room, appears to be the latest attempt by organized crime to intimidate social media users and control the online agenda.

While it's impossible to know the man's identity, the reason for his death, or other details, the veracity of the reports and photos are nearly beside the point. In Mexico's current climate, where CPJ research shows criminal organizations control the information agenda in many cities, what matters is the success of such attempts to scare professional and, increasingly, citizen journalists.

November 11, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexico murder may be social media watershed

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers left this note. (AFP)

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers made sure their actions were understood. In a macabre, carefully orchestrated mise-en-scene, they placed her body in front of a poster with the ominous note. Nearby they left a computer keyboard, with a pair of headphones on her decapitated head.

September 30, 2011 10:15 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Motive unclear, but murders become rallying point

The brutal, September 1 murders of two women from the world of mass communications drew international headlines as the latest attack against the Mexican news media. But the sensational case--the two were found strangled in a park in the heart of Mexico City--illustrates the complexities of determining motives amid the pervasive violence afflicting Mexico. Since President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa took office in December 2006 and deployed thousands of troops to fight criminal organizations, more than 40,000 people have been killed in violence between organized crime gangs or between the gangs and authorities, according to the attorney general's office.

September 19, 2011 4:39 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of abducted journalist found in Mexico

New York, August 25, 2011--The body of Mexican journalist Humberto Millán Salazar was found early today in a field in the state of Sinaloa near the state capital, Culiacán, with a gunshot wound in the head, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities said the journalist was abducted early yesterday by men in two SUVs who intercepted him on his way to work.

August 25, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Journalists flee Veracruz as cartels crack down

In the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, reporters are fleeing for their lives or are in hiding, according to Notiver, the city's principal newspaper, and local reporters. This flight began on Wednesday after the decapitated body of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, a police beat reporter for Notiver for nearly three decades, was found near the building of Imagen, another local newspaper. Journalists in the city told CPJ that they assumed the murder was a general threat to reporters working for all news organizations. This follows the murders on June 20 of the city's most well-known columnist, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his wife, Agustina, and their son, Misael. Both father and son worked at Notiver.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, UK, USA

Journalists take stage: Q&A with 'Record' playwright

A promotional image for "On the Record," which opens this week at London's Arcola Theatre.

The true stories of journalists from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the United States, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will hit the stage July 20 at London's Arcola Theatre. "On the Record," which runs through August 13, examines the careers of six journalists, the risks they face, and their determination to make an impact through their work. This is the latest production by the UK-based Ice and Fire theater company, founded in 2003 to explore human rights stories through performance. Christine Bacon, Ice and Fire's artistic director and co-author of "On the Record," discusses the production's inspiration, messages, and challenges in this CPJ interview. 

Alerts   |   Mexico

Prominent Mexican columnist, wife, son shot to death

Police outside the home of slain columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco. His wife and son were also murdered. (AP/Felix Marquez)

New York, June 20, 2011--A prominent Mexican newspaper columnist, his wife, and a son were shot to death in their home in Veracruz, according to state investigators, a shocking assault that underscores the country's ongoing crisis. The administration of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa must take decisive action to end to the cycle of violence undermining Mexico's democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.    

Alerts   |   Mexico

Missing journalist found dead in Mexico

New York, June 2, 2011--With the news that the body of Noel López Olguín, a Mexican reporter who went missing in March, was found on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate his murder. López was found Tuesday buried in a clandestine grave in the city of Chinameca, in the state of Veracruz, according to local news reports.

June 2, 2011 2:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Drug trafficker confesses to killing missing Mexican reporter

New York, June 1, 2011--A drug gang leader confessed on Sunday to killing Mexican reporter Noel López Olguín, a columnist for a small newspaper in the state of Veracruz who went missing in March, according to local press reports. Gustavo Salas, the Mexican federal attorney general's special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression, told CPJ on Tuesday that his office is taking up the case.

June 1, 2011 5:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela

Latin America democracy violated by killings

Lately, we have come to expect violence against journalists in certain regions, such as the Middle East. But here at CPJ, 2011 has also been troubling for the number of journalists killed in an entirely different part of the world, the Americas. 

Blog   |   Mexico

In breakthrough, Mexican media sign crime accord

Major Mexican press organizations agreed today on a code for coverage of organized crime, a step seen as a national breakthrough that could set professional standards well into the future. Though organized crime has been the major story in Mexico for several years, coverage has been haphazard based on time, place, and news organization. The problem with today's agreement is that organized crime cartels are so powerful in many parts of the country that they will likely be able to block some of the most important elements of the accord with the same intimidation they use to control much of the press already.

March 24, 2011 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican court rules critical documentary can be shown

A notice on the film's website says its distributor will resume screening.

When a federal judge issued an order last week to suspend screenings of documentary that investigates incompetence in the Mexican judicial system, it looked like the film might be falling victim to the very system it criticizes. The film, "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable" in Spanish), exposes flaws in the Mexican judicial system as it charts two Mexican attorneys' efforts to exonerate street vendor Jose Antonio Zúñiga, who was convicted of murder in 2005 and was serving a 20-year sentence.

March 11, 2011 4:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan

Documenting sexual violence against journalists

Jineth Bedoya takes notes in December 2000 under the watch of a bodyguard in Bogotá in an armored car after she was kidnapped, beaten, and raped in April that year. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our Journalist Assistance program, she's well known to everyone on our staff.

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2010: Americas Analysis

In Latin America, A Return of Censorship

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional leaves white space for an image the government won't allow. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

By Carlos Lauría

As the preeminent political family in the northeastern state of Maranhão for more than 40 years, the Sarneys are used to getting their way in Brazilian civic life. So when the leading national daily O Estado de S. Paulo published allegations in June 2009 that linked José Sarney, the Senate president and the nation's former leader, to nepotism and corruption, the political clan did not sit idly by. The Sarneys turned to a judge in Brasília, winning an injunction that halted O Estado from publishing any more reports about the allegations. Eighteen months later, as 2010 came to a close, the ban remained in effect despite domestic and international outcry.

February 15, 2011 12:54 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press 2010: Mexico

Top Developments
• Amid rampant violence, Calderón backs federalization of anti-press crimes.
• More than 30 journalists killed or disappeared since Calderón's term began.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists abducted in Durango by gangsters who demand that TV stations air their propaganda.


Organized crime groups exerted fierce pressure on the Mexican press as their control spread across vast regions and nearly every aspect of society. Pervasive self-censorship by news media in areas under drug traffickers' influence was a devastating consequence of violence and intimidation. Ten journalists were killed, at least three in direct relation to their work, and three other reporters disappeared. In addition, journalists were assaulted, kidnapped, or forced into exile, while media outlets were targeted by bomb attacks, making Mexico one of the world's deadliest places for the press. After meeting with a CPJ delegation, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged to push for legislation making attacks on free expression a federal crime, and announced the launch of a security program for at-risk reporters.

February 15, 2011 12:25 AM ET

Blog   |   Mexico

Aristegui's dismissal is troubling and inappropriate

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui tells the media today she was fired from MVS for refusing to apologize for comments last week on her radio show. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)

On Friday, opposition legislators in Mexico disrupted a congressional session by raising a banner with an image of President Felipe Calderón and a message that read: "Would you let a drunk drive your car? No, right? So why would you let one drive your country?" Radio MVS' Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico's most popular journalists, addressed the issue on her weekly radio show, asking on the air whether Calderón should give a formal answer as to whether he had a drinking problem. MVS then fired Aristegui for allegedly violating the station's code of ethics.

February 9, 2011 4:58 PM ET

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