Mexican journalists protest

Journalists march in Veracruz, Mexico, on Sunday, the anniversary of the death of journalist Regina Martinez. Others marched in other state capitals to protest violence against members of the news media. (Felix Marquez / Associated Press / April 28, 2013)

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican journalists on Sunday marched in this capital and several other states to protest violence that has claimed the lives of co-workers and silenced news media in parts of the country.

Chanting “Justice!” and “Solution!” the journalists demanded government authorities investigate a string of murders, kidnappings and threats suffered by reporters and media workers in recent years.

The demonstrators chose Sunday because it has been exactly a year since the slaying of Regina Martinez, a reporter for Mexico’s leading newsmagazine Proceso. She was killed in her home in the Veracruz state capital of Xalapa. State authorities have sought to portray the case as a simple robbery.

A man convicted in the case said he was tortured into making a confession. Another Proceso reporter who investigated the killing has been threatened, allegedly by current and former Veracruz government officials.

Several hundred reporters and supporters marched through the streets of Xalapa, stopping at the headquarters of state Gov. Javier Duarte, under whose administration more journalists have been killed or gone missing than anywhere else in the country: nine dead and three disappeared since Duarte came to office in 2010.

Some reporters who participated in the Xalapa march had been in hiding until Sunday, for fear of their safety, organizers said.

In Mexico City, the march started at the Federal Interior Ministry, which oversees most police and law enforcement functions, and ended up at the local headquarters of the Veracruz state government. The demonstrators carried a model of a charred human skeleton, which they draped with tools of journalism such as cameras and notebooks, and finally hung it on the green iron gates of the Veracruz government office. A sign accompanied the skeleton: “Truth is not killed killing journalists.”

“We are not asking for bodyguards,” Jesusa Cervantes, a reporter for Proceso, told the crowd. “We are asking that [authorities] fulfill the law, the rules and their responsibility to protect their citizens.”

Many newspapers in Mexican states have stopped reporting on violence and drug trafficking crime because of threats or bribes. Journalists say the intimidation comes from drug-and-extortion gangs or from local authorities.

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