The two journalists still held since a police crackdown on protests in Mexico City on 1 September – Gustavo Ruíz Lizárraga of the alternative news agency SubVersiones and Pável Alejandro Primo Noriega of Multimedios Cronopios – were finally freed on the night of 5 September on bail of 15,800 pesos (900 euros) each.
They continue to face trial on several charges including endangering public order, but it is hoped that the judge could decide to dismiss the charges today on the basis of evidence provided by their lawyers.
“We think the bail demanded for their release was exorbitant and we reiterate our call for the withdrawal of all the charges, which were completely inappropriate because they were just doing their job as journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“Justice will not be fully rendered until there is an investigation into the behaviour of the police during these demonstrations against education reform.”
04.09.2013 - Two journalists freed on bail, two still held
Independent journalists Alejandro Amado Fraustro and Estela Morales were released on bail yesterday, along with other people who had been arrested arbitrarily during street demonstrations in Mexico City on 1 September.
But the two other journalists who were arrested on 1 September, Gustavo Ruíz Lizárraga and Pável Alejandro Primo Noriega, have been transferred to a Mexico City detention centre until a judge sets bail for them.
The trial for all four journalists is still under way.
“We reiterate our call for the release of the detained journalists and the withdrawal of all the charges against them,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Ruíz, who works for the alternative news website SubVersiones, identified himself as a journalist at the time of his arrest and was carrying official accreditation until it was taken from him.
Heriberto Paredes Coronel, editor of the website, told Reporters Without Borders: “We tried to contact the authorities but they did not respond to our appeal for help. On the contrary, they even claimed that our news media did not exist. We are very worried by the way this trial is developing because so far the authorities have not been very lenient towards us.”
03.09.2013 - Journalists arrested, attacked during Mexico City protests
Reporters Without Borders condemns the arbitrary arrests of four journalists with independent news media while they were covering street demonstrations in Mexico City on 1 September against education reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government.
“We call for the immediate release of these four journalists and the withdrawal of the charges against them,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Their only crime was trying to do their duty as reporters and guarantee the public’s right to information.
“These arrests recall the tumultuous start to President Peña’s term, when two photographers, Mircea Topoleanu and Brandon Daniel Bazán, were arrested during demonstrations on 1 December. We demand respect for the work of media personnel and an end to violence against them. We also demand an investigation into these police abuses.”
Gustavo Ruíz Lizárraga, a photographer with the alternative news agency SubVersiones, was filming demonstrators being arrested by Mexico City police when he was himself arrested and bundled into a police truck.
But he managed to pass his video camera to another reporter and his video footage provided evidence of the police abuses and disproved the accusation that have been made against the detained journalists.
The three other detained journalists are Estela Morales of Regeneración Radio, freelancer Alejandro Amado Fraustro and Pável Alejandro Primo Noriega of Multimedios Cronopios, who began his detention in the same police truck as Ruíz.
The four have been charged with endangering public order, obstructing the authorities, fabricating and carrying objects for the purpose of violence, and resisting arrest.
Daniel Cruz, a photographer with the newspaper Milenio, was attacked by a police officer during the demonstration, although he identified himself as a journalist.
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the threat to freedom of information from an upsurge in police violence against journalists in various Latin America countries including Brazil and, in recent weeks, Colombia.