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Call for murder of Mexican journalist to be solved ‘firmly and promptly’

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Max Rodriguez (Photo: tribunadeloscabos.com.mx)

MIAMI, USA — The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) onTuesday condemned the murder of journalist Máximo Rodríguez Palacios in Mexico, and reminded the authorities of their duty to investigate promptly and severely punish those responsible for the crime to prevent impunity triumphing.

IAPA president Matt Sanders expressed his “sorrow for and condemnation of” the murder of Rodíguez Palacios, 72, committed last Friday (April 14) in La Paz, Baja California Sur state, and asked that both this and other cases of violence against journalists and news media “be dealt with firmly and promptly.”

Sanders, senior editor and general manager of Deseret Digital Media, Salt Lake City, Utah, added, “Once again we restate what in an official manner we communicated last week to various Mexican authorities, including to President Enrique Peña Nieto, through a resolution passed at our midyear meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, in which it was stressed that “impunity is the main incentive to continue attacking journalists.”

For his part the chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, editor of the website La Silla Rota of Mexico City, Mexico, repeated the call by the organization regarding “the urgent need to evaluate all the means of protection that so far have proved to be ineffective.”

Rodríguez Palacios, known as Max Rodríguez, worked as a radio and print press journalist in Baja California Sur for nearly 50 years. He covered the police beat for the website Colectivo Pericú and wrote a column titled “Es mi opinón” (It Is My Opinion) on political, government, security and violence matters in his state.

Shortly before mid-day on April 14 he was parked at a mall where he planned to go to a store along with his wife who was accompanying him and who was unhurt, when unidentified persons in a pickup truck fired at him some 15 times. The organization Artículo 19 reported that he had been receiving threats.

“The gravity of the violence against journalists in Mexico has no equal and it is urgent that colleagues, organizations and all those believing in press freedom raise their voice to demand justice and an end to impunity,” declared the IAPA officers, who also referred to Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec, signed by President Peña Nieto in October 2016, which states “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly.”

This year also murdered have been Miroslava Breach Velducea, correspondent of La Jornada and stringer of Norte and El Diario de Chihuahua, of Chihuahua, on March 23; Ricardo Monluí Cabrera, editor of the newspapers El Político de Xalapa, and El Político de Córdoba and the website elpolitico.com.mx, of Veracruz, on March 19, and Cecilio Pineda Birto, stringer of the newspapers La Voz de Tierra Caliente and El Universal, among others in Altamirano, Guerrero state, on March 2.