On Tuesday November 11, Guerrero state police beat journalist Carlos Navarrete Rubio of the El Sur newspaper, and also attacked and threatened other photojournalists documenting the violent eviction of 500 teachers from the headquarters of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party in Chilpancingo. The teachers were protesting against the disappearance of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa.
During the altercation, the photojournalist Jesús Eduardo Ramirez Guerrero of the La Jornada newspaper was also assaulted.
Despite identifying himself as a journalist, Navarrete was hit by at least 10 police officers when he tried to photograph a group of police officers who were assaulting an elderly person in the vicinity of the protest.
Photojournalists Sebastian Luna and Anwar Delgado were also beaten and threatened by the police while trying to rescue Navarrete from the attack.
“Police officers should be trained in human rights … (because) from the beginning it was clear to them that I was a reporter and they did not care. They behaved wildly,” said Navarrete Rubio, in an interview with ARTICLE 19.
It is also known that the police officers verbally threatened other journalists documenting the protest and subsequent eviction of the teachers.
ARTICLE 19 condemns the assaults committed by the police. Such attacks not only violate the freedom of expression of the assaulted journalists, but also violate the right of citizens to seek and receive information freely.
ARTICLE 19 believes that:
- Guerrero State Police should take steps to ensure the protection of the right to freedom of expression in the context of public demonstrations or protests.
- Guerrero State Police has not only the duty to not interfere in the work of the press, but also has an obligation to protect those who — in either a professional or amateur capacity — are documenting demonstrations.
ARTICLE 19 recommends that the authorities provide reporters access to official sources of information, especially in the context of public demonstrations.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities to investigate what happened and establish who was responsible for the aggression, in addition to ensuring any due reparations for damages are received.