Rapid Action Network: RAN 17/16 – 11 August 2016
PEN International is seriously concerned for the safety of Noé Zavaleta, Veracruz state correspondent for the national newsweekly Proceso, who has been subject to intimidation, threats and a smear campaign in the run-up to the launch of his book on the outgoing governor of Veracruz, El infierno de Javier Duarte. Crónica de un gobierno fatídico (Javier Duarte’s hell: Chronicles of a fateful government). The threats are reported to have come via social media from a businessman named in the book, as well as anonymous messages from email accounts and websites associated to the state government. Some reportedly aim to link the journalist to a criminal group. PEN calls on the local and federal authorities to ensure Zavaleta’s safety and to investigate the threats against him as a matter of urgency. It urges the authorities to guarantee the protection of all journalists under attack in Mexico for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
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Please send appeals calling on the state and federal authorities in Mexico to:
- Provide journalist and author Noé Zavaleta with immediate protection and ensure his safety so he can carry out his work without censorship or fear;
- Investigate the threats against Noé Zavaleta and bring those responsible to justice;
- End the harassment of Mexican journalists for their work, and provide them and all Mexican citizens with the protection they need in order to safeguard their right to freedom of expression.
Veracruz State Attorney General’s office (Fiscalía General del Estado – FGE)
Luis Ángel Bravo
Fiscal General de Veracruz
Palacio de Gobierno. Av. Enríquez s/n. Col. Centro C.P. 91000, Xalapa, Veracruz, México
Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (Fiscalía Especial de Atención a Delitos en contra de la Libertad de Expresión – FEADLE)
Lic. Ricardo Nájera
Email: ricardo.najera [at] pgr.gob [dot] mx
Ministry of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación)
Roberto Campa Ciprián
Subsecretario de Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación
Abraham González No. 48, Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México. C.P. 06600
Email: campa1_2000 [at] yahoo.com [dot] mx
State Commission for the Protection of Journalists (Comisión Estatal para la Atención y Protección de Periodistas – CEAPP)
Lic. Benita González Morales
President of CEAPP
Manuel Ávila Camacho 31 altos, Colonia Centro, Xalapa Veracruz
Email: bgonzalez [at] ceapp.org [dot] mx, DAA [at] CEAPP.ORG [dot] MX
#Mexico: @PEN_int concerned by threats against journalist @zavaleta_noe for book on Veracruz governor http://bit.ly/2aZCBZW
Please send a copy of your appeals to your nearest Mexican diplomatic representative.
PEN members are encouraged to:
- Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Noé Zavaleta in Mexico
- Share information about Noé Zavaleta and your campaigning activities via social media
- Messages of solidarity can be sent to Noé Zavaleta at @zavaleta_noe
Noé Zavaleta (35), author and Veracruz state correspondent for the national newsweekly magazine Proceso, has been subject to intimidation, threats and a smear campaign in early August 2016 in relation to his book on the outgoing governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte. The threats have coincided with the run-up to the book’s launch on 10 August 2016.
Published on 19 June, El infierno de Javier Duarte. Crónica de un gobierno fatídico (Javier Duarte’s hell: Chronicles of a fateful government) (Ediciones Proceso) is a damning account of Duarte’s administration. Zavalata argues that since the governor came into office in 2010, Veracruz has become synonymous with a narco-state where nepotism, corruption, violence and impunity reign.
According to Proceso, Zavaleta has been threatened and insulted on social media by the businessman and owner of the regional newspaper El Buen Tono, José Abella, for mentioning his lucrative advertising contracts with the state government in the book.
The journalist has also reported receiving anonymous threatening messages from email accounts and websites associated with the state government. Most worrying are some recent messages which try to link him to the organised crime group Los Zetas, he says.
Zavaleta says he fears for his life after receiving a tweet on 8 August that stated ‘you’re only saying you’re being threatened to get publicity, you f****** failed writer. Now I know where you live’ (‘dices que te amenazan solo para darte publicidad, pinche escritor fracasado. Ya sé dónde vives’).
Proceso and its correspondents have expressed concern at these attempts to intimidate Zavaleta and undermine his journalistic work which make him vulnerable to attack. The newspaper has stated that it holds Abella and the government of Veracruz responsible should anything happen to the journalist.
Zavaleta has reported the threats to the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists. He has reportedly also lodged a formal complaint against Abella for alleged coercion and threats with the State General Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes and for Crimes against Journalists (FGE), and is considering bringing a similar complaint before the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR).
There is a history of violent attacks on Proceso journalists and in general against reporters in Veracruz. Regina Martínez, also a correspondent for Proceso based in Veracruz, was murdered at her home on 28 April 2012. Rubén Espinosa, photojournalist for the magazine, was killed in Mexico City on 31 July 2015 after relocating from Veracruz state due to death threats.
Three print journalists have been killed in Veracruz in 2016 alone and the state had the highest incidence of attacks on journalists in the first four months of the year, according to Article 19.
At least 14 print and internet journalists have been killed in Veracruz since 2004, according to PEN International research, more than in any other state. Eleven of these have died since 2010, when Jaime Duarte became state governor.
At least 78 print and internet journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2004, according to PEN International research, while another 11 have disappeared. Around 90 per cent of these cases remain unresolved.