One month after the brutal murders of Veracruz journalist Rubén Espinosa, activist Nadia Vera and three other women in a Mexico City apartment, activists and journalists continue to fight against impunity and for freedom expression.
On August 31, a campaign around the hashtag #NoNosCallarán (We Will Not Be Silenced) took over social media and the front page of Mexican daily El Universal.
Black ink, save for the words NO NOS CALLARÁN in white, covered the front page of El Universal.
A letter to President Enrique Peña Nieto and other Mexican authorities was printed on an inside page of the newspaper. Signatories asked the officials to investigate the murders of journalists and establish mechanisms for their protection. The logos of freedom of expression organizations PEN America and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), as well as online activist community Avaaza, were printed underneath.
On a separate page, there were 600 signatures of journalists and intellectuals from 192 countries, alongside the hashtag #NoNosCallarán.
Yet, these signatures represent only a fraction of the more than 730,000 people who have signed that petition on Avaaz’s website.
Since the publication of the letter and the hashtag in El Universal, #NoNosCallarán has been used in more than 500 posts reaching more than 8 million people in the last 24 hours, according to Keyhole. The height of activity was reached September 1 around 1 p.m.
A post from Univision journalist Jorge Ramos was retweeted almost 3000 times: “#NoNosCallarán in Mexico or the United States. We will not sit, we will not go, we will not be silenced.”
Posters are expressing solidarity with Mexican journalists and asserting the status of freedom of expression as a human right. Alongside their promises that they will not be silenced, they are tagging Peña Nieto and Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte.
In an editorial published on Aristegui Noticias, journalist and activist Lydia Cacho listed her reasons for not being silenced. “Because democracy is not built from submission #NoNosCallarán. Because my fellow activists did not deserve death #NoNosCallarán. Because all human lives matter #NoNosCallarán…”
In Mexico City, recreations of the Proceso magazine cover that featured Espinosa’s photo of Duarte along with the headline “Veracruz: State Without Law” were pasted outside that state’s government office, according to Avaaz.
Freedom of expression group Article 19 also marked the one month anniversary of the murders with renewed calls for investigation. The organization released a lengthy report that says the Attorney General of Mexico City has violated protocol in investigating the murders of Espinosa, Vera, her roommates and a domestic worker. They accuse authorities of leaking information, re-victimizing the deceased and their families, cutting short investigations, and more.
Up to this point, just two people have been arrested for the murders. One person was taken into custody days after the killings, according to the AP. On August 30, La Razón and AFP reported that authorities announced the arrest of a former policeman,
The Avaaz letter is not the first addressed to the Mexican government in an attempt to garner the world's attention following the Mexico City murders.
On August 17, journalists presented a letter signed by more than 500 journalists, writers, artists and freedom of expression advocates from around the world. The signatories called for investigation into the deaths of Espinosa and all journalists killed in the country, and for revision of the protection mechanism for journalists.
In response to the letter, the Secretariat of the Interior released a statement reasserting the government’s dedication to freedom of expression and the mechanism.
Espinosa’s murder, the seventh of a journalist in Mexico this year, shone a light on the country’s troubled protection mechanism. International organizations and press advocates have questioned its efficacy since its inception in 2012. Some journalists in danger, including Espinosa, have chosen to seek help elsewhere.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Mexico 148 out of 180 countries on its 2015 World Press Freedom Index. According to the CPJ, 34 journalists have been murdered since 1992 for reasons related to their journalistic work. Of these cases, 28 have gone unpunished. The CPJ has also recorded 40 cases in which journalists were killed, but motives have not been determined.
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.