Open Letter from Independent Media Organiziations Working in Oaxaca

[an open letter from Independent media organiziations working in Oaxaca to the Mexican
Goverment, Mexican and International Human Rights agencies, and international civil
society]

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca. 7 de noviembre, 2006.

A Vicente Fox Quezada, Presidente de la República
A Carlos Abascal Carranza, Secretario de Gobernación
A José Luis Soberanes, de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos
A la Comisión Internacional de los Derechos Humanos
A los Defensores de los Derechos Humanos Independientes
A la Sociedad Civil Nacional e Internacional

Since the beginning of the conflict, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, the majority of the
national and international media have systematically failed to tell the whole story of
what is happening in Oaxaca, and especially with regard to the acts of violence carried
out by the state government, and more recently by the federal police.

In recent weeks, many journalists covering the conflict for independent media have been
subjected to all kinds of threats and harassment by paramilitary groups operating on
behalf of the state government; by the pirate radio operating under the permission of
Ulises Ruiz Ortiz; and now by the federal police as well. It’s clear that the work of the
independent media presents an obstacle to the repressive actions carried out by the State.

The death of the North American journalist, Brad Will, at the hands of municipal
functionaries who sympathize with Ulises Ruiz Ortiz is a clear example of the above
mentioned situation. Despite the scandal generated by his death, the situation has become
even more precarious for those of us working as organizations, collectives, and
independent journalists.

Examples are: Calls for aggression against “foreign” reporters, on the so-called “Citizen
Radio,” generating a xenophobic campaign against anyone who isn’t Oaxacan; direct death
threats against journalists; the theft of their footage; physical attacks and threats
with firearms.

As independent journalists we also condemn the interference of University Radio’s
broadcast as a violation of university autonomy and the freedom of speech protected by
the Mexican Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We oppose the differentiation between officially accredited media outlets and the
independent media, because we are all working to provide information.

For the above mentioned reasons, we hold Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and President Vicente Fox
Quesada responsible for anything that might happen to any member of the below signed
organizations and collectives, or to any other journalist.

Sincerely,

Agencia Popular de Fotografía Lok’tavanej
Bibaani, A.C.
Canal 6 de Julio
Centro de Información y Documentación Comunitaria Yagavila
Centro de Medio Libres DF
Colectivo Chanti Ollín
Colectivo Radio Zapote
Convergencia de Colectivos de la ENAH
Editorial Lucía Zenteno
Estéreo Comunal
Frente Oaxaqueño de Comunicación Alternativa
Indymedia Oaxaca
Kehuelga Radio
Mal de Ojo TV
OaxacaLibre
Ojo de Agua Comunicación
Radio Bemba
Radio Chapingo
Radio Guetza
Radio Maíz
Radio Molocha
Radio Nandiá
Radio Pacheco
Radio Plantón
Radio Reforma
Radio Sabotaje
Radio Tupa Oaxaca
Radio Universidad
Red de Radios Comunitarias del Istmo (Radio Ayuuk, Radio Ikoots, Radio Umalalang, Radio
Totopo, Radio Huave)

Corrugated Films
Indymedia Barcelona
Indymedia NYC
Kaos en la Red
La Haine.org
Organización Inglesa de Periodistas

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey