New York, January 7, 2009--Tuesday's attack on broadcaster Televisa in the Mexican city of Monterrey underlines the need for a federal law that protects freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Legislation that would make violent crimes against journalists a federal offense is pending in the Mexican Congress.
During a live broadcast at 8:35 p.m. on Tuesday night, at
least five masked gunmen riding in two pickup trucks fired high-caliber weapons
and tossed a grenade outside the Televisa studios in
Televisa's news director in
"Drug traffickers are clearly using the media to spread a
message of fear and terror and make clear to everyone that there will be
consequences to reporting on their activities," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's
No one was injured but at least six cars and the station's front door were damaged, Cobos said. Federal and local police and the Mexican army immediately surrounded the building after the bombing, and, according to the national daily El Universal, the army was deployed to two other Monterrey TV stations, Azteca 7 and Canal 12 Multimedios. Federal authorities are investigating the attack, according to local news reports.
A bill that would amend the penal code to make it a federal crime to curtail an individual's right to freedom of expression is set to be debated by Congress in the next month. "Mexicans urgently need a better legal framework to protect their basic human right to freedom of expression," said Lauría. "The time has come for the Mexican government to take immediate action to insure that society can express itself without fear."