International PEN protests the murder of newspaper editor and publisher Jorge Ochoa Martínez, who was shot dead in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero state, on January 29, 2010. Ochoa is the second print journalist to be murdered in Mexico in 2010 and the 29th since 2004. PEN calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate Ochoa’s killing, along with all other unsolved journalist murders, as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice. It also continues to call for the implementation of effective journalist protection programs.

Background Information

Jorge Ochoa Martínez, editor and publisher of local newspapers, El Oportuno, based in Chilpancingo, and El Sol de la Costa, based in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero state, was shot dead on January 29, 2010. He was reportedly shot several times in the face after leaving a birthday party for a local politician at a restaurant in Ayutla de los Libres. The authorities are investigating but do not as yet have any leads in the case.

Ochoa (55) had not reported receiving any threats. According to a colleague, his newspapers did not tend to cover sensitive stories such as drug trafficking or corruption in any depth due to the poor security situation in Guerrero for journalists and in general. However, his family reportedly believes it possible that his murder was connected to his work. According to the police, there is to date no indication that his death was linked to organized crime.

Guerrero has become one of the most dangerous states for journalists as a result of a turf war between two drug cartels and the state and federal forces’ attempts to remain in control. Ochoa is the second print journalist to be killed in Mexico in 2010.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. From January 2004 to January 2009, a total of 29 writers—28 print journalists and one author—have been murdered, seven of them in 2009 alone. Six more print journalists have disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. International PEN believes it is likely that these journalists 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.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the murder of newspaper editor and publisher Jorge Ochoa Martínez, who was shot dead in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero state, on January 29, 2010;
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into Ochoa’s death and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico;
  • Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfill promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offense, specifically by amending the constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes;
  • Calling on the federal authorities to set up protection programs for journalist to ensure their safety.

Send Your Letter To

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

Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador 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
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.
 
Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after April 2, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org