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Mexican newspaper director goes on hunger strike after cancellation of government advertising

Ildefonso Chávez, owner of Mexican daily El Pueblo, went on an indefinite hunger strike on Dec. 2 in front of Chihuahua State's Government Palace to protest the cancellation of state advertising in October, shortly after the newspaper published a series of stories critical of Chihuahua's governor, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) reported.

El Pueblo called Governor César Duarte Jáquez's administration to be more transparent about the state's public debt. In response, the state government canceled its publicity with El Pueblo and suspended payments scheduled for the rest of the year, news site Vanguardia informed.

IAPA addressed a letter to Duarte calling him to fully comply with the Mexican constitution's precepts on freedom of the press and to not discriminate or pressure media outlets by suspending state publicity to those who criticize his government.

The letter also underscores that state advertising should not be used to reward or punish media outlets or journalists since, according to the Declaration of Chapultepec, it's a practice that goes against freedom of expression and should be prohibited by the law.

According to the organization, Chávez said state agencies have blocked El Pueblo's website in their offices and launched a smear campaign against the publication.

Chávez, who originally planned a 20-day hunger strike, extended it indefinitely to bring more attention to his plight and demand respect for his rights.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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