Mexico: Writers join PEN in calling for justice for murdered journalists


President Peña Nieto: Investigate the Murders of Journalists in Mexico and Establish Mechanisms to Protect their Lives 

PEN International joins colleagues and writers from around the world in calling on President Peña Nieto to fully investigate the recent murder of photojournalist Rubén Espinosa and to offer greater protection to our Mexican colleagues. The full text of the letter to the President, signed by more than 500 writers, journalists, and free expression advocates follows, and is available in Spanish here.

Mr. President:

We the undersigned, as journalists, writers, creative artists, and free expression advocates from around the world, and with the support of PEN and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), would like to express our indignation regarding the deadly attacks against reporters in your country. An attempt on the life of a journalist is an attack on society’s very right to be informed.

On July 30, the news photographer Rubén Espinosa was killed in Mexico City along with four other people: a young woman activist, her two roommates, and a domestic worker. This is only the latest in a long series of outrages against the press, and it took place in a city that was considered one of the last safe places in the country for reporters to work. There would now seem to be no safe haven for the profession.

Since 2000, dozens of journalists have been killed in Mexico, and approximately 20 more remain disappeared. The great majority of these crimes have never been prosecuted. According to the Mexican Human Rights Commission, there is evidence that points to the involvement of government officials in many of the attacks against journalists and media outlets. The widespread and extreme physical threats faced by reporters in Mexico have drawn the attention of many concerned with international freedom of expression and press freedom, including PEN and CPJ, who have campaigned to end censorship by the bullet.

Rubén Espinosa, who was 31 years old, worked as a photographer in the state of Veracruz. A few weeks ago, he fled to Mexico City after receiving the last of what he considered severe threats to his life. Reporters in Veracruz who receive threats are often convinced that they come directly from the local government. Since the current governor of Veracruz took power in 2010, journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed in unprecedented numbers: 14 have been murdered in atrocious fashion, and three have disappeared in the same time period. In each of these cases local justice has dismissed the victim’s profession as probable cause.

So far, 37 of Rubén Espinosa’s colleagues in Veracruz have left their jobs, their homes, and their families and fled to Mexico City after receiving threats. Espinosa was murdered shortly after his arrival in Mexico City. Mr. President, there must be no more murders: his death and the deaths of Alejandra Negrete, Yesenia Quiroz, Nadia Vera, and Mile Virgina Martin, who were killed with him, must be prosecuted and the perpetrators brought to justice. In your country, the statistics are disastrous regarding impunity in crimes against the press: according to the Human Rights Commission, 89 per cent of the murders remain unsolved. The Commission has said that its own investigations are frequently obstructed by national authorities. Judicial negligence guarantees impunity.

Today, journalists in many parts of the world are under attack, and Mexican reporters in particular are in deadly peril. Organized crime, corrupt government officials, and a justice system incapable of prosecuting criminals all contribute to reporters’ extreme vulnerability.

Mr. President, we urge you:

1. To guarantee the immediate and effective investigation of the assassination of Rubén Espinosa and the shameful number of journalists in Mexico who have met the same fate, and the thorough investigation of state and municipal officials who, in each case, may have been involved.
2. To undertake an immediate review of the procedures established to protect reporters’ lives, and to make a swift and effective commitment to guarantee and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.

Sincerely,

Mario Arriagada
Héctor Abad Faciolince
Rodrigo Abd
Jaime Abello
Vivian Abenshushan
Mariclaire Acosta
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Sergio Aguayo
José Agustín
Francisco Alanís
Cristian Alarcón
Jesús Alberto Yajure
María Alesia Sosa
Andrew Alexander
Paola Alín
Esther Allen
Guilherme Alpendre
Vivien Altman
Sinar Alvarado
Nathalie Alvaray
Rosental Alves
Christiane Amanpour
Luigi Amara
Anita Anand
Jon Lee Anderson
Miguel Angel Nieto
Claudia Antunes
Kwame Anthony Appiah, former president of PEN American Center
Elizabeth Araujo
Gerardo Araujo
Betty Aridjis
Chloe Aridjis
Homero Aridjis
Rosemarie Armao
Alonso Arreola
Margaret Atwood
Paul Auster
Cecilia Ballesteros Guerra
Cecilia Balli
Patricia Barba Ávila
Caco Barcellos
Javier Bárcenas
Günter Bartsch
César Batiz
Dan Baum
Louis Begley, former president of PEN American Center
Ana Belen Santiago
Geney Beltrán Félix
Marcelo Beraba
Carl Bernstein
Luis Pablo Beauregard Alday
Marjorie Blomme
Ray Bonner
Steven Bodzin
Lisseth Boon
Lolita Bosch
Liz Bradley
Carlos Bravo Regidor
Tom Brokaw
Gloria Jay Browne-Marshall
Lydia Cacho
Verónica Calderón García
Rebeca Calle
Homero Campa
Fidel Cano
Pablo Caño Gallardo
Martín Caparrós
Mardonio Carballo
Laura Carlsen
Sonia Corona Sánchez
Ana María Carrano
Laura Castellanos
Ricardo Castro
César Castro Fagoaga
Jean-Philippe Ceppi
Michael Chabon
Vitaly Chelyshev
Ron Chernow, former president of PEN American Center
Susan Chira
Noam Chomsky
Paula Chouza Candeira
Sandra Cisneros
Ana Clavel
Jennifer Clement
John Coats
John Coetzee
Teju Cole
John Conroy
Martha Cooley
Sheila Coronel
Daniel Coronell
Ricardo Corredor
Molly Crabapple
Carjuan Cruz
Juan Cruz
Alfonso Cuarón
Manuel Martin Cuenca
Guillermo Cullell
Dave Cullen
Michael Cunningham
Carlos Dada
Sergio Dahbar
Staffan Dahllöf
Luke Dale-Harris
Helen Darbishire
Javier Darío Restrepo
Daniela Dávila Torres
Jacobo Dayana
Luca De Biase
Donna De Cesare
José de Córdoba
Pablo de Llano Neira
Anthony de Palma
José Roberto de Toledo
Siddhartha Deb
Melissa del Bosque
Matias del Rio
Guillermo del Toro
Claudia Delgado
Junot Díaz
Adriana Diaz Enciso
Christopher Dickey
Juan Diego Quesada Fernández
Stephen Doig
Andrew Donohue
Kate Doyle
Daniel Drepper
Denise Dresser
Borja Echevarría
Nelson Eduardo Bocaranda
Carlos Eduardo Huertas
Gastón Eligio Monge
Alvaro Enrigue
Octavio Enríquez
Louise Erdrich
Gerardo Esquivel
Joaquín Estefanía
Monica Fahmy
Tai Farounbi
Jules Feiffer
Héctor Feliciano
Airam Fernández
Patricio Fernández
Antonio Fernández Nayz
Carlos Fernando Chamorro
Stephen Ferry
Diego Fonseca
Juan Luis Font
Juan Forero
Altin Fortuzi
Hal Foster
Lorna Scott Fox
Marian Botsford Fraser, chair of Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International
Carlos Franz
Salvador Frausto
Maureen Freely, president of English PEN
Josh Friedman
Melva Frutos
Claudia Furiati Páez
Jan Gunnar Furuly
Neil Gaiman
Esther Garcia
Alicia García Bergua
Ana García Bergua
Gael García Bernal
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro
Javier Garza
Verónica Gerber Biecci
Graeme Gibson
Ricardo Ginés
Todd Gitlin
Jo Glanville, director of English PEN
Peter Godwin, former president of PEN American Center
Matt Goldberg
Francisco Goldman
Marina Gómez Robledo Ramos
Vanessa Gómez Quiroz
Enric Gonzalez
Mónica Gonzalez
Mónica González Islas
Camilo Gonzalez Posso
Gustavo Gorriti
Juan Gossain
Cheryl Gould
Témoris Grecko
John Green
Mona Grivi Norman
Evelyn Groenink
Rogelio Guedea
Carla Guefenbein
Leila Guerriero
Alma Guillermoprieto
Chus Gutierrez
Alejandra Gutiérrez Valdizán
Sebastián Hacher
Jessica Hagedorn
Nicky Hager
Pete Hamill
Daniel Handler
Adam Hannestad
Dorrit Harazim
Miles Harvey
Jens Egil Heftoy
Leonardo Heiblum
Aleksander Hemon
Amy Hempel
Julián Herbert
Yuri Herrera
Roberto Herrscher
Seymour Hersh
Adam Hochschild
Refik Hodzic
Pavla Holkova
Amanda Hopkinson
Mark Horvitz
Brant Houston
Ariana Huffington
Mark Lee Hunters
Siri Hustvedt
Steven Isenberg
Gabriela Jaúregui
Camilo Jiménez Estrada
Ha Jin
Gilbert Joseph
Laia Jufresa
Mario Jursich
Salmon Kalmanovitz
David Kaplan
Nitasha Kaul
Amitava Kaur
Porochista Khakpour
Kimberly Kleman
Minna Knus-Galán
Lucy Komisar
Gisela Kozak
Stefanie Kremser
Hari Kunzru
Rachel Kushner
Tony Kushner
Sandra La Fuente
Gumersindo Lafuente
Lucía Lagunes Huerta
Anne Lea Landsted
Isaac Lee
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Rafael Lemus
Juanita León
Jonathan Lethem
Karen Lewellen
Albinson Linares
Yelitza Linares
Elinor Lipman
Claudio Lomnitz
Carlos Lopez
Claudio Lopez
Roberto López Belloso
Mabel Lozano
Jorge Luis Sierra
Diego Luna
Helge Lunde
Gavin MacFadyen
Larissa MacFarquhar
Frida Maceira
Pamela Maffei McCarthy
Dale Maharidge
Gabriela Manulli
David Marcial Pérez Muñoz
David Maris
Megan Marshall
Eduard Martín-Borregón
Óscar Martínez
París Martínez
Jan Martínez Ahrens
Antonio Martínez Velázquez
Michael Massing
Ayana Mathis
Judith Matloff
D.T. Max
Patrick Mayoyo
Colum McCann
Colin McMahon
Jody McPhillips
Pablo Medina
María Gabriela Méndez
Claudia Méndez Arriaza
Maaza Mengiste
Geraldine Fabrikant Metz
Josh Meyer
Lorenzo Meyer
Alfredo Meza
Thomasina Miers
T. Christian Miller
Ken Mizokochi
Anne Modarressi
Adrian Mogos
Fernando Molica
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Tania Montalvo
Daniel Montero Bejerano
María Jesús Montes
Acianela Montes de Oca
Rick Moody
Marcelo Moreira
Gina Morelo
Ana Karina Moreno
Daniel Moreno
Dan Morrison
Eduardo Mosches
Maggie Mulvihill
Boris Muñoz
Azar Nafisi
Bertha Navarro
Fernanda Navarro
Enrique Naveda
Sonia Nazario
Guadalupe Nettel
Juan Noé Fernández Andrade
Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN American Center
José Luis Novoa
Adriana Núñez
Eulimar Núñez
Finbarr O’Reilly
Achy Obejas
Midori Ogasawara
Lise Olsen
Michael Ondaatje
Hector Ortega
Antonio Ortuño
Alfonso Ospina
Guillermo Osorno
Jardiel Palomec
Weng Paraan
José Luis Pardo Vieras
Catherine Parnell
Katherine Paterson
Bruno Patiño
Miranda Patrucic
Norman Pearlstein
Bibiana Peine
Máximo Peña
Amantha Perera
Gustavo Daniel Pescheta
Blanche Petrich
D.B.C Pierre
Michael Pietsch
Omar Pineda
Rafael Pineda
Erwin Potts
Luis Prados de la Escosura
Francine Prose, former president of PEN American Center
Sabrina Provenzani
Jordi Puntí
Guillermo Quijas-Corzo
Karem Racines
Paul Radu
Sergio Ramírez
Andrés Ramírez
Claudia Ramos
Dulce Ramos
Ricardo Raphael
Ahmed Rashid
Theresa Rebeck
Victoria Redel
Rossana Reguillo
Elena Reina Muñoz
David Remnick
Vania Reséndiz
Jacob Resneck
German Rey
Gustavo Reyes
Pilar Reyes
Rodrigo Rey Rosa
Angel Ricardo Gómez
Maite Rico Francia
Alan Riding
Jill Riepenhoff
Carmen Riera
Ronna Rísquez
Ariel Ritchin
Laura Robinson
Eduardo Rodriguez
Juan Ramón Rodríguez
Martín Rodríguez Pellecer
Larry Rohter
Nayeli Roldán
María Teresa Ronderos
Enrique Rondón Nieto
Espen Rosback
Eleanor Rose
Clovis Rossi
Sebastián Rotella
Sandra Mims Rowe
Antonio Rubio
Saúl Ruiz Mata
Emiliano Ruiz Parra
Alan Rusbridger
Norman Rush
Salman Rushdie
Douglas Rushkoff
Alberto Salcedo Ramos
Daniel Saldaña
Andres Sanchez
Omar Sánchez de Tagle
Alejandra Sánchez Inzunza
Nora Sanin
Inés Santaeulalia Fernández
Esmeralda Santiago
Daniel Santoro
José Luis Sanz
John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International
George Saunders
Said Sayrafiezadeh
Andrés Schafer
Elissa Schappell
Diana Schemo
David Schlesinger
Richard Sennett
Carlos Serrano
Shahid Sha
Bruce Shapiro
Craig Shaw
Owen Sheers
Erin Siegal McIntyre
Álvaro Sierra
Héctor Silva Ávalos
Joel Simon, executive director of Committee to Protect Journalists
Pablo Simonetti
Majo Siscar
Margo Smitt
Dava Sobel
Andrew Solomon, president of PEN American Center
Deborah Solomon
Paula Span
Art Spiegelman
Paul Steiger
María Stoopen
Asuncion Stoupignan
Jean Strouse
Rubén Suárez Ciria
Drew Sullivan
Damon Tabor
Irlanda Tambascio
Janne Teller
Mauricio Tenorio
Sanne Terlingen
Marleen Teugels
Adam Thirlwell
Serena Tinari
Colm Tóibín
Fred Tomaselli
Wibert Torre
Justin Torres
Laird Townsend
Marcelo Träsel
Salil Tripathi
John Trotter
Eileen Truax
Duy Linh Tu
Marcela Turati
Manuel Ureste
Pedro Vaca
Javier Valdez
Roberto Valencia
Mael Vallejo
Michael Vazquez
Rulo David Vázquez
Andres Velasco
Natalia Viana
Judith Vichniac
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Julio Villanueva Chang
Juan Villoro
Ayelet Waldman
Mike Walter
Jonathan Weiner
Tim Weiner
Jacob Weisberg
Margot Williams
Matthew Winkler
Tobias Wolff
Alejandra Xanic Von Bertrab
Karla Zabludovsky
Alejandro Zambra
Fabiola Zerpa
Blaz Zgaga
Margriet Zoethout