A National Call for Protest in Mexico Amidst Controversy Over Journalist's Death

On April 28, 2012, Mexican journalist Regina Martinez was found beaten and strangled to death in her bathroom in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, on the gulf coast of Mexico. A drifter with a drug addiction was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 38 years in prison.

But for many local journalists, the crime didn’t add up and within hours of her death, around 100 journalists had taken to the streets in Mexico City in protest. Martinez reported on organized crime and corruption for Proseco magazine, an anti-establishment publication that dares to question the government in what many believe is the most dangerous state for journalists in all of Mexico. Veracruz is the only location in Mexico to be named to Reporters Without Borders list of the Ten Most Dangerous Places in the world for journalists. In 2011, three journalists were killed there and those who continue to work do so at considerable risk to their lives.

Earlier this month, Jorge Carrasco, another Proseco journalist, published a story in the magazine investigating the circumstances of Martinez’s death. Carrasco found, among other things, that the man convicted of killing Martinez claimed he had been tortured by government officials into making a confession. Within days of Carrasco’s piece hitting newsstands, he received threats of kidnapping and death by government officials, according to a statement by Proseco. The Veracruz government denied making the threats.

As tensions in the case escalate, a group of journalists is calling for a national demonstration this Sunday, April 28, on the one-year anniversary of Martinez’s death. “Journalists across the country are under siege,” read a statement announcing the action that was emailed to journalists, human rights groups and other organizations. “We call on all groups of journalists in Mexico to perform symbolic actions at the same time: go to public places to protest, put black ribbons or offerings in newsrooms.”

“In the first four months of this year, at least one journalist was killed, another is missing, four media members were attacked and an organization dedicated to the defense of journalists was threatened,” the statement read. “The real culprits are still free. The rulers are rewarded for perpetuating impunity.”

The action will begin at 11 am in the center of Xalapa with a show of solidarity. At the same time, a demonstration will be held outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City.

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