Expresses alarm and condemnation of attack on 2 news photographers in Ciudad Juárez, killing one and seriously injuring the other
Miami (September 17, 2010)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed alarm and condemnation of an attack on two news photographers from El Diario in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua State. One photographer was killed and the other injured. The organization also announced that it will discuss the issue of safety and violence against the press during a meeting scheduled next week with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, said the violence against the Mexican press is tied to a global and regional process arising from the proliferation of organized crime and narco-trafficking which requires “a call for regional and multilateral responsibility” in order to provide protection to journalists.
“That is what we asked for at our meeting in Washington, D.C., in July, when we felt it necessary to call upon all governments and multilateral agencies -- the Organization of Americas States, the United Nations and all the governments in the Americas, including the United States – in view of the fact that we are facing an issue of regional proportions,” Aguirre declared.
“Since organized crime and violence against the press is global, an integrated response is called for, including dialogue and common strategies in place between Presidents Felipe Calderon and Barack Obama,” he added.
Aguirre’s comments followed the attack in Cuidad Juárez yesterday. News photographers Luis Carlos Santiago Orozco, 21, and Carlos Manuel Sánchez Colunga were shot at around 2:35 p.m. in the parking lot of a Ciudad Juárez shopping center, where they had gone to have lunch after working a photo contest at the offices of El Diario. Santiago Orozco died at the scene and Sánchez Colunga was seriously wounded.
El Diariosaid Santiago Orozco had been stringing for the paper since May this year, when it began publishing some of his photos and given their high quality he was asked to join the full-time staff. Meanwhile, Sánchez Colunga had been working there for just the last few weeks.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, added, “We urge coordinated action on the part of state and federal authorities in Mexico, and what is also needed is the solidarity of media and journalists in order to effectively combat the attacks by those who resort to violence.”
Aguirre and Rivard announced that representatives of the IAPA and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) will be taking part in the meeting with Calderón, scheduled for September 22. They added that the IAPA and CPJ will the next day hold a forum on how the violence is hindering news coverage in the country and what is needed to be done at the Casa Lamm Cultural Center in Mexico City.
Nine other journalists have been murdered n Mexico so far this year: Guillermo Alcaraz Trejo, Marco Aurelio Martínez, Hugo Alfredo Olivera Cartas, María Elvira Hernández Galeana, Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos, Evaristo Pacheco Solís, Jorge Ochoa Martínez, José Luis Romero and Valentín Valdés Espinosa. Eight others have disappeared: Evaristo Ortega Zárate, Ramón Angeles Zalapa and six newsmen abducted in Tamaulipas between February and March this year.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. The IAPA Impunity Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has the mission of combating violence against journalists and lessening the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org; http://www.impunidad.com