ARTICLE 19 has documented 37 cases of forced displacement from the state. Veracruz is one of the most dangerous states for journalists. ARTICLE 19 has documented the murder of 17 journalists since 2000. Of these, 12 have been recorded under the administration of the current governor Javier Duarte.
The most recent case is Rubén Espinosa, a photojournalist for Proceso, Cuartoscuro and AVC Noticias, who left Veracruz after becoming the victim of assaults last week. He was followed by people acting suspiciously, who took photos and harassed him. Espinosa, who specialises in covering protests, said that covering local government events had been made particularly tough for him.
“The fact that a journalist decides to leave the state where he works to protect his physical integrity suggests that the right to exercise freedom of expression is not adequately guaranteed, and that human rights are not being duly protected,” said Darío Ramírez, ARTICLE 19’s Director for Mexico and Central America.
The day before leaving Veracruz, Espinosa had led an official event for the placement of a plaque in honour of the journalist Regina Martínez, who was murdered in Veracruz on 28 April 2012. Faced with assaults and daily violence against the press in this state in southeast Mexico, the journalist reportedly left because he feared for his safety. Veracruz does not guarantee that journalists can fully exercise their right to freedom of expression, and it is still one of the three most violent states for the press in Mexico. In 2014, 42 assaults were recorded.
ARTICLE 19 points out that it is the state’s duty to guarantee the human rights of people who are displaced as a result of violence and, furthermore, demands that the responsible authorities guarantee photojournalist Rubén Espinosa’s safe return by taking firm action to put an end to his harassment; they must create the right conditions for his return so that he can pursue his tasks of seeking, securing and spreading news.