Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The director and staff of Article 19 in Mexico have once again received death threats. An anonymous letter directed to all employees - consisting spelling errors, hate speech and threats - was delivered at Article 19's headquarters in Mexico city. Article 19 is a London based NGO defending the freedom of speech. It opened an office in Mexico in 2006, also covering Central America. Due to the ongoing drug-war Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work in.

By: Cees Zoon  

Over 80 journalists have been assassinated in Mexico since 2006. Both organized criminal organizations and local authorities are responsible for this violent outbreak. The perpetrators only very rarely get caught. This is not the first time Article 19 receives death threats. More measures have been taken to protect the NGO's staff. Like most media organizations Article 19 has a special safety protocol for severe threats. Director Dario Ramirez even has a personal bodyguard.

'We take these threats very seriously', said Ramirez. 'Our priority is to guarantee the safety for our entire team.' According to the director, the threats 'obviously come from an individual who feels uncomfortable towards our work.' Despite the threats Article 19 continues to do its job, which is mainly focused on distributing information to journalists in Mexico and Central America about the threats and attacks they are facing.

In Mexico, violence and threats against journalists and media institutions take place virtually everyday. In the state Chichuaha for instance, the Internet newspaper Onjiaganoticias has stopped its activities last year after their editor-photographer Jaime Guadalupe was killed by 18 bullets. Also in the state Tamaulipas, a news website which informed people about the ongoing violence in the area, stopped reporting last year after a drug cartel announced a bounty for the one who could identify the person who created the website.

Furthermore - during the last couple of weeks - headquarters of several newspapers in the north of Mexico have been attacked with grenades.