Joint letter decries impunity in journalist’s murder

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and five other free speech organizations have sent a joint letter to the Mexican authorities urging them not to let journalist Miroslava Breach’s murder go unpunished. In the two months since her death on 23 March, no arrest has been made and the investigation has made no significant progress.

Results needed in two-month-old investigation into Miroslava Breach’s murder

Sixty days have already elapsed since journalist Miroslava Breach’s murder on 23 March. So far there has been no arrest and no significant progress in the investigation, although the local authorities said they had identified this horrible crime’s perpetrators and instigators. The failure to issue any arrest warrant for the supposedly identified perpetrators is therefore alarming. The lack of diligence displayed by the Chihuahua authorities is generating a climate of mistrust towards them and uncertainty among the victim’s family, fellow journalists and society as whole, which expects swift progress in the investigation.

For these reasons, ARTICLE 19, Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Propuesta Cívica, Comunicación e Información de la Mujer (CIMAC), Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Periodistas de a Pie condemn the impunity currently prevailing in the Breach murder.

In the eyes of the organizations signing this letter, it is clear that the repeated violations of freedom of expression constitute a major structural and social problem and reflect Mexico’s growing violence. At every level – federal, state and municipal – the government takes no interest in the media and even, very often, poses a threat to the media instead of ensuring their protection.

Against this backdrop of great vulnerability for the media, Javier Valdez’s recent murder in Sinaloa state has highlighted the lack of Mexican government policies for reining in the violence to which journalists are subjected day after day in our country. Those signing this letter have for many years been condemning the difficulties experienced by the media in our country, which is ranked as one of the most dangerous in the world for exercising the freedom of expression.

Actions in defence of freedom of expression and the protection of journalists and human rights defenders” were announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto and the National Conference of Governors on 17 May. We demand the immediate implementation of these measures, especially those for protecting journalists and combatting impunity for crimes of violence against the media. It no longer suffices to condemn free speech violations and express outrage about violence against journalists. Concrete measures must now be taken to stop the violence affecting those who practise journalism in Mexico.

The Chihuahua state attorney-general’s office and the federal attorney-general’s office must guarantee that Miroslava Breach’s murder will not go unpunished and that those responsible will be brought to justice and tried for their crimes.

All of the organizations signing this letter also issue an impassioned appeal to the Federal Mechanism for Protecting Human Rights Defenders and Journalists to work with federal and state authorities in order to been able to guarantee the safety of journalists in Chihuahua and other parts of the country where they are subject to constant violence.

Finally, we call on Chihuahua governor Javier Corral’s administration to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that nothing similar to the crime against Miroslava Breach ever happens again in the state of Chihuahua. We remind the governor that two journalists and two human rights defenders have already been subjected to execution-style murders since his term began.

We want no more talk. We demand results.