Rare victory for persecuted journalist highlights Mexico’s press freedom crisis

4/29/2017 The Guardian

journalismPedro Canché has finally won an apology for being jailed after he criticized a state governor. But, he asked, what about the 104 journalists killed since 2006?

Pedro Canché, an indigenous journalist and activist in the southern Mexico state of Quintana Roo, had a hunch the local authorities were closing in on him for his coverage of angry protests over rising water rates in local Mayan communities.

So he filmed a video criticizing the intensely image-conscious state governor, Roberto Borge, and uploaded it to YouTube in August 2014. Just a few days later, police pulled Canché from his car and threw him in prison on charges that he had sabotaged a local waterworks.

The charges were eventually thrown out after nine months as a judge ruled no damage had been caused, and Canché had no relationship with the protest ringleaders.

The National Human Rights Commission later ordered the state government to publicly apologize to Canché and pay compensation, but Borge refused.

This week, a new state administration apologized to Canché – who took the opportunity to highlight Mexico’s ongoing crisis of press freedom, and the unpunished murders of scores of journalists.

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