MÉXICO: OAXACA NEWSPAPER EDITOR GOES INTO HIDING AFTER SHOOTING ATTACK ON HOME

From: Reporters Without Borders

OAXACA NEWSPAPER EDITOR GOES INTO HIDING AFTER SHOOTING ATTACK ON HOME

Mexico, September 1, 2009

The police and judicial authorities investigating a shooting attack on the home of Guillermo Soto Bejarano, the regional weekly Nuevo Milenio‘s editor and columnist, on 30 August in Salina Cruz (in the southern state of Oaxaca) should work on the assumption that it was linked to his journalist activities, Reporters Without Borders said today.

The press freedom organisation also urged the authorities to provide protection for Soto and his family, who left their home after the attack.

“Fortunately there were no victims, but this was the second attack in a short space of time on Soto and his newspaper, which also came under fire,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The lack of any reaction from the Salina Cruz authorities is incomprehensible. We hope the federal justice ministry office in the city of Oaxaca will carry out an appropriate investigation. The safety of Soto and his family must be guaranteed so that he can continue working.”


According to a Reporters Without Borders tally, there have been six cases of bombings or shooting attacks on news media offices or homes of journalists since the start of the year. With a total of 50 journalists killed since 2000, Mexico is the western hemisphere’s most dangerous country for the media.

The shots against Soto’s home were fired in the early hours of 30 August by men using large-calibre guns aboard a black pickup. Soto told Reporters Without Borders that, after being wakened by the shots, he managed to protect his children, of whom the youngest was sleeping in a room that gives on to the street.

The Salina Cruz municipal police arrived a few minutes after the shooting and found four bullet impact marks. On the advice of the police, Soto and his family moved out of the house as a safety measure but have not so far been given any protection. He reported the attack to the federal justice ministry’s regional office.

The national oil company Pemex has a refinery in Salina Cruz that is often the subject of Soto’s regular column, called “Refinando la Noticia” (Refining the News). Soto said other aspects of his journalistic work could have been the motive for the shooting, but he did not want to go into any detail for safety reasons.

Mexico was ranked 140th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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