Human rights body to investigate scribe attack

The National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, is investigating last week's attack on journalist Gerardo Ponce de Leon in Hermosillo, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Sonora, commission president Raul Plascencia said.

Ponce, editor of the Marquesina Politica news web site, was beaten by two unidentified men last Thursday. The journalist suffered cuts to his face and rib injuries. CNDH officials have contacted the journalist's relatives to offer support and legal assistance, the commission said.

Plascencia instructed the CNDH's state office to interview the reporter and advise him that his case was being monitored, the commission said. The government is responsible for preventing attacks on freedom of expression, the CNDH, Mexico's equivalent of an ombudsman's office, said.

The attacks on journalists in Mexico ‘are worrisome, not just because they are assaults on the integrity and lives of people, but also because they violate the right of society to be informed’, the CNDH said.

Attacks on journalists ‘are systematic in Mexico’ and the issue gets little attention, with inadequate justice in cases involving attacks or abuses of power against journalists, the CNDH said.

A total of 580 complaints have been received from journalists since 2005, the commission said. Mexico, where nearly 80 journalists have been murdered and several others have disappeared since 2000, is considered the world's second most dangerous country for members of the media.
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