Newspaper reporter Karla Silva was beaten up by three assailants yesterday in her office in Silao, a town in the central state of Guanajuato, where she works as the local correspondent of El Heraldo de León.
“Three men went to our correspondent’s bureau in Silao and attacked her, beating her bloody, threatening her and telling her to stop ‘pissing everyone off’ with her articles,” El Heraldo de León deputy editor Carlos Martínez Vertí told Reporters Without Borders.
They had visited Silva’s office several times earlier in the day, asking for her by name, harassing her assistant and taking a computer and four mobile phones.
Silva’s reporting has been very critical of the Silao municipal government, headed by a mayor who is a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). She has written about the poor services in Silao, the high crime rate, wasteful use of resources and the lack of transparency.
Local officials have often complained about her coverage and have repeatedly tried to obstruct her work. She said after yesterday’s attack that she was sure that her assailants were sent by one of these officials.
“Silva, who is now hospitalized, has filed a complaint with the local prosecutor’s office while we have already reported this attack to the special prosecutor for attacks on freedom of expression,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “We urge the authorities to move quickly to identify and arrest not only the assailants but also, and above all, those who gave them their orders.”
The attack on Silva came just two days after Victor Pérez, a journalist with the magazine Sucesos, was murdered in Chihuahua state, and shots were fired at newspaper editor Ignacio Domínguez’s home in Veracruz state. A threatening message was also left inside a pig’s head on Domínguez’s doorstep.
Mexico is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.