Reporters march in Mexico
Ana Arana: Reporters march in Mexico
13 Aug 10

Just a few days after several thousand reporters marched in Mexico City and other cities across the country to protest attacks against the press, the journalism community is elated to have managed to organise such a gathering. But as former editor of El Universal Raymundo Riva Palacio warned his colleagues before the march, displays of protest only from the “infantry” are likely to achieve little unless news media owners join the cause.

Leading journalists made suggestions about how Saturday’s last minute marches should be followed up. On Tuesday, Roberto Rock, the former director of the daily El Universal urged march organisers to meet Frank La Rue, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression and Catalina Botero, the Organisation of American States Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, who will be visiting Mexico this week to investigate the situation of the Mexican press.

Rock is a member of the Inter American Press Association, one of the many international groups that has requested for years that the Mexican government to change the investigative system for journalists’ murders, taking it away from provincial authorities (Estados) to the federal authorities.

Elsewhere in Latin America, in Uruguay, Judge Ana María Tellechea Reck sentenced journalist Alvaro Alfonso to 24 months in prison after he was convicted of having libeled former Montevideo provincial congressman for the Communist Party of Uruguay (PCU), Carlos Alberto Tutzó López in a 2008 book. The judged also demanded the “seizure” of all editions of the book Secretos del Partido Comunista (Secrets of the Communist Party).

In Brazil Elizeu Felício de Souza, who was sentenced to 23-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the 2002 death of television journalist Tim Lopes of TV Globo is openly selling drugs in the streets of Morro do Alemão, a shantytown in the north of Rio de Janeiro.

Images obtained by TV Globo show the escaped prisoner selling drugs, armed with a rifle and pistol, next to a city construction site. Tim Lopes was killed in 2002, after reporting on the sexual exploitation of children at drug traffickers’ “funk” parties in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

Yesterday in Bogota, Colombia, terrorists placed a car bomb near the building that houses Caracol, one of the country’s major radio stations. The bomb caused considerable damage injuring nine.