Online Columnist Murdered
International PEN is outraged by the murder of online columnist Norberto Miranda Madrid, who was shot dead by unknown assassins on September 23, 2009, after writing about drug cartels in Chihuahua state. Miranda is the fifth print journalist to be killed in Mexico this year alone. PEN calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate the killing, along with all other unsolved journalist murders, as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice.
Norberto Miranda Madrid, editor and columnist for the website of the online radio station Radio Visión and presenter for the same, as well as journalist for a number of newspapers, was shot dead at Radio Visión’s offices in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua State, northern Mexico, on September 23, 2009. According to reports, a number of men with their faces covered forced their way into the premises late that night and shot Miranda repeatedly, including in the back of the neck, after he identified himself. The journalist reportedly died at the scene. His brother, who also works for the station, was present at the time but was not injured.
Miranda (44), who had 15 years’ experience as a journalist, was known for his column "Cotorreando con El Gallito" (Chatting with the Little Rooster, or the Tough Guy), which often covered social issues including criminal groups and the lack of public safety. His last column, published the day before he was killed, mentioned the murders of 25 people in Nuevo Casas Grandes since the beginning of September, attributed to the Juárez drug trafficking cartel. Miranda’s September 5, 2009 piece referred to the capture in Nuevo Casas Grades of some members of "La Linea" (The Line), the armed wing of the Juárez cartel, including Rodolfo Escajada, who is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration list. Following this article Miranda was reportedly subject to harassment. The authorities are said to be reviewing Miranda’s recent articles in search of a possible motive for the killing.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. From 2004 to 2009, a total 25 writers—24 print journalists and one author—have been murdered, five of them this year alone. Four more print journalists have disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. PEN believes that 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.
Chihuahua is one of the states most affected by the violence caused by rival drug cartels and the federal government’s military response. More than 14,000 people have died since the government offensive was launched in December 2006, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Miranda’s death brings to five the number of print journalists murdered in Chihuahua state since 2006. The others are: Enrique Perea Quintanilla (August 8,2006); Candelario Pérez Pérez (June 23, 2008); José Armado Rodríguez Carreón (November 13, 2008); and Ernesto Montaez Valdivia (July 14, 2009).
Write A Letter
- Protesting the murder of online columnist Norberto Miranda Madrid in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua State, on September 23, 2009;
- Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into his killing and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico;
- Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil 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.
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: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr. President
Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Teléfono + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General
Lic. Octavio Alberto Orellana Wiarco
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas
Procuradoría General de la República
Av. Paseo de la Reforma #211-213
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500, México D.F., MEXICO
Fax: +52 55 53 46 09 08
Salutation: Dear Sir/Señor Fiscal Especial
Please also send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Mexico in your country if possible.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after November 28, 2009: ftw [at] pen.org