CJFE is appalled by the killing of Mexican journalist

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

His Excellency, Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas
Ambassador of the Republic of Mexico for Canada
Embassy of the Republic of Mexico
45 O'Connor, Suite 1000
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1A4

October 6, 2009

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is appalled by the fatal shooting of journalist Norberto Miranda Madrid, the director of Radio Visión, on September 23. Miranda Madrid was shot in the head and neck after a group of men forced their way into the Radio Visión office.

Madrid had recently reported on the growing number of killings in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported Miranda Madrid held rival groups of drug traffickers responsible for a series of 25 execution-style murders during the month of September. Furthermore, Miranda Madrid's colleagues informed the International Freedom of Expression Exchange that he had been harassed after covering the capture of several important leaders of the Juárez drug cartel on September 4.

Miranda Madrid is the fifth journalist in Mexico to be killed this year for reporting on or about topics related to criminal groups involved in the drug trade. Also killed were: magazine publisher Ernesto Montañez Valdivia, newspaper reporters Martín Javier Miranda Avilés and Jaime Omar Gándara San Martín, and photographer Jean Paul Ibarra Ramírez.

These killings are a tragic reminder of the continuing dangers faced by journalists in Mexico. In 2008, 10 journalists were killed in Mexico, making it the second deadliest country for the press and the most dangerous place in the Americas. Despite President Calderón's support for free expression laws, prosecutions are rare and impunity is widespread.

CJFE urges Mexican authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Miranda Madrid and ensure that those responsible for this, and other attacks on press freedom, are found and brought to justice.

We thank you for your attention and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, President

c.c.: Guillermo Rishchynski, Canadian Ambassador to Mexico;
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs