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Sunday, 29 January 2012

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Writers condemn violence against Mexico journalists

28 Jan BBC

A host of international authors - including seven Nobel laureates - have called for an end to attacks on journalists in Mexico.

The writers took out a full page advert in Mexican newspaper El Universal to defend the right of all journalists to be free from fear and censorship. The statement by the PEN International writers group was signed by 170 of the world’s most acclaimed authors.

PEN says 67 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000. Among those signing the declaration “to the journalists and writers of Mexico” were Nobel laureates JM Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mario Vargas Llosa and Derek Walcott.

Other famous signatories included Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Ariel Dorfman and Salman Rushdie.

“We, writers from around the world, stand with you and all Mexican citizens who are calling for the killing, the impunity, the intimidation to stop,” the newspaper advert said. “These violations diminish us all and threaten the right of Mexican citizens to live lives both safe and free from censorship,” it went on.

“We call on your government to apprehend and prosecute all who have silenced your colleagues and seek to silence you”. Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. The majority of the killings have been linked to organised criminal gangs, with journalists targeted because of their coverage of drug-trafficking. There is also widespread intimidation, and some media practice self-censorship to protect their staff.

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