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MEXICO: Newspaper Offices Attacked and Burned by Armed Gang

Tuesday 8 November 2011 - 12:00am

RAN 57/11 8 November 2011

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is alarmed by the recent attack on the newspaper offices of El Buen Tono, the Mexican daily newspaper based in Cordoba, Veracruz state. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice and to end the climate of impunity in which these attacks take place.

In the early hours of 6 November 2011, approximately 15 armed men forced their way into the offices of El Buen Tono. They smashed equipment, doused the editing room and reception with gasoline and then set the offices on fire. The twenty employees who were there at the time of the attack had to take refuge from the flames in the print room. None have reported injuries.

The newspaper is only a month old and is owned by former Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) mayoral candidate, José Abella García. Although it does not focus on policing and security issues, the newspaper has drawn attention to itself through its strong criticism of the local authorities. The State Attorney General’s office is investigating the attack. The motive for the attack is unknown.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world in which to practice journalism. PEN International recently launched its Day of the Dead 2011 campaign, highlighting the violence suffered by print journalists and writers in Mexico and protesting the climate of impunity that exists there.

Over the last 18 months, Veracruz state has become increasingly violent as drug gangs battle for territory. During this period, three journalists have been murdered and two have disappeared:

Noel López Olguin, columnist for the daily La Verdad de Jáltipan
Miguel Ángel López Velasco, columnist for the daily Notiver
Yolanda Ordaz del la Cruz, reporter for the daily Notiver

To read more, please see:

Evaristo Ortega Zaraté, editor of the weekly Espacio. To read more, please see:

Gabriel Manuel Fonseca Hernández, reporter for the daily El Mañanero. To read more, please see:

Please send appeals:
• Protesting the attack on El Buen Tono on 6 November 2011;
• Calling for an end to Mexico’s climate of impunity in which attacks such as these take place;
• Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offence, by amending the Constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes.

Appeals 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
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")
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 la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE)

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 30 December 2011.***

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: