Mexican journalist attacked after receiving threats

Mexico City, September 8, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Thursday’s attack on Mexican reporter Karla Janeth Silva, who had reported critically on municipal authorities. Silva was kicked and beaten in her newspaper’s office in Guanajuato state, according to news reports.

Unidentified assailants entered the offices of daily El Heraldo de León in the late afternoon and beat and kicked Silva, the paper’s Silao correspondent, in the chest and head, according to news reports. She sought treatment at a local hospital for her injuries. The assailants told Silva to change the tone of her reporting. A secretary who was present at the time of the attack was not harmed.

Silva had written on increasing crime in the city of Silao and had criticized municipal authorities in recent reports for their alleged waste of resources and lack of transparency, El Heraldo de León reported. She had also told her colleagues that she feared repercussion in connection with her reports, the paper said.

“It is outrageous that a journalist can be beaten in her office with complete impunity for investigating issues of public interest,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the America, from New York. “Mexican authorities must fully investigate this crime, determine if there was any involvement by local officials, and ensure that Silva can safely do her job.”

José Zamora, administrative director of the newspaper, told CPJ that Silva believed the attack had been ordered by someone in the municipal government.

Silao Mayor Enrique Benjamín Arzola denied the allegations, calling the attack a “horrible act,” according to news reports.

Attacks on reporters have been rare in Guanajuato, a hub of automobile manufacturing. But violence tied to organized crime has made Mexico one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press, according to CPJ research. More than 50 journalists have been killed or have disappeared since 2007. The country was ranked seventh on CPJ’s 2014 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free.