PEN International protests the murder of yet another journalist in Mexico: Angel Castillo Corona, who was killed along with his 16-year-old son in Mexico State on July 3, 2011. Castillo’s death brings to three the number of journalists murdered in the country in the last month, while one other has been abducted in the same period. In all, a total of 41 print journalists and writers have been killed in Mexico since 2004, while 10 more have gone missing. PEN calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate Castillo’s murder as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice. It also calls on the authorities to implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010 immediately.

Background Information

According to police reports, journalist Angel Castillo Corona and his son, Ángel Castillo Téllez, were driving on the highway between Ocuilan and nearby Tiaguistenco in Mexico State in the early hours of July 3, 2011, when they were attacked by unidentified men in another car. Castillo’s son was run over and died immediately, while Castillo passed away in a local hospital after being severely beaten.

Castillo worked as press officer for the municipality of Ocuilan and wrote about regional politics for the daily newspapers Portal and Diario de México. Representatives of local journalists’ organizations reportedly met the Mexico state prosecutor general to protest the murders on July 7.

June to July has been a particularly bloody month for Mexico’s journalists: Castillo is the third to be killed in Mexico in the last month, while one other has disappeared. Columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco was shot dead along with his wife and son in their home in Veracruz state on June 20, 2011; journalist Pablo Ruelas Barraza was gunned down in Sonora state on June 13; and editor Marco Antonio López Ortiz has not been seen since June 7, when he was reportedly abducted in Guerrero state. Moreover, the body of columnist Noel López Olguín, who went missing in March 2011, was found in Veracruz state on June 1.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. Since January 2004, 39 print journalists and two writers have been murdered, while 10 print journalists have gone missing in the same period. Nine of the killings and three of the disappearances occurred in 2010 alone; the toll for 2011 to date stands at five and one respectively. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. PEN believes that it is likely that many of these writers were targeted in retaliation for their critical reporting, particularly on drug trafficking. While organized crime groups are responsible for many attacks, state agents, especially government officials and the police, are reportedly the main perpetrators of violence against journalists, and complicit in its continuance.

On June 3, 2011, PEN Canada, in collaboration with the International Human Rights Program at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, published a timely and provocative report on the situation in Mexico: "Corruption, Impunity, Silence: The War on Mexico's Journalists" (also available in Spanish). The same day Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail published an op-ed by John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International, on the report (also available in Spanish and French).

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the murder of journalist Angel Castillo Corona and his son in Mexico state on July 3, 2011;
  • Calling for a full and impartial investigation into these killings, focusing on Castillo’s journalistic work as a possible motive, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, as well as into all other unsolved journalist killings and disappearances in Mexico;
  • Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfill promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offense, by amending the constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes;
  • Calling on the federal authorities to implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010 immediately.

Send Your Letter To

President
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President 

Attorney General
Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Señora Procuradora General/Dear Attorney General

Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression
Dr. Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: feadp@pgr.gob.mx

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Mexico in your country if possible.

Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after September 12, 2011: ftw [at] pen.org