Source Article 19
Mexico City, August 26, 2019.- On August 24, journalist Nevith Condés Jaramillo, director of digital media with El Observatorio del Sur, was murdered in Tejupilco, State of Mexico.
His body was found in Cerro de Cacalotepec. According to the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Mexico (FGJEM), he presented injuries as a result of having been stabbed.
While it is not known who the perpetrators of the murder are, Nevith had repeatedly received threats via telephone and social networks. ARTICLE 19 learned in 2017 about the threats he had received on October 30 of that year by alleged members of organized crime through Facebook. Two of the messages said: “I don’t want to do anything to you, I like your work, but don’t mess with us, pay attention to the deputy, don’t write anything anymore, you’re causing with what you are writing about the deputy (sic)”.
The journalist received the messages after covering the visit of the Secretary of State for Health, Gabriel Jaime O’Shea Cuevas and then the local deputy Anthony Dominguez Vargas (current municipal president of Tejupilco).
The threats continued on June 24, 2019, after he published a video with interviews with residents and the director of an elementary school in the area, where they complained about the lack of support and the suspension of the school’s construction. According to the journalist, a subject who identified himself as part of organized crime demanded that he take down the video, about “Anthony” and apologize.
Following these threats, ARTICLE 19 requested the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) to include the journalist in the programme in order to provide protection measures. However, this was not apparently possible.
Nevith’s journalism typically covered citizens’ complaints. Mainly, he posted notes and videos on his website, Facebook and YouTube. The information he published gave account of the lack of attention to the communities in the area: the poor state of the roads, the lack of medication in the regional hospital, flood damage, among other problems. In addition, he exposed the complete failure to implement the campaign promises made by officials elected in successive elections. His work was vital to make society listen and, therefore, generated admiration and esteem among the inhabitants of Tejupilco.
His murder should remind the authorities of the State of Mexico of the urgency of having an effective public policy that protects the life and integrity of journalists, as well as the obligation to create a context conducive to the exercise of freedom of expression.
The federal government should be aware that the number of murders of people who dedicate their lives to freedom of expression has already exceeded last year’s figure. So far in 2019, ARTICLE 19 has documented 10 murders of journalists in possible relation to their work, while in the whole of 2018 it documented 9.
Therefore, this organization calls on the various branches of local and national government to work effectively together, to implement the necessary measures for the protection of lives and prevention of attacks.
Similarly, ARTICLE 19 calls on the government of the State of Mexico, headed by Governor Alfredo del Mazo, to pay special attention to violence against the press and to generate public policies aimed at reducing it, protecting freedom of expression and laying the foundations. for the eradication of self-censorship, especially in contexts such as is current in the southern state.
The Commission of Human Rights of the State of Mexico (CODHEM) requests that it safeguard the life and integrity of family members, as well as closely follow the investigation of the case to ensure the achievement of justice.
Yesterday, the FGJEM announced through a press release that it had initiated an investigation to determine the causes of Nevith’s death, as well as to identify the probable perpetrators. However, ARTICLE 19 calls on the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the Attention of Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR), to exercise the power that it possesses under article 73 section XXI of the Constitution, to guarantee access to justice for family members, clarify the facts and punish those responsible both the material and intellectual authors.