Noam Chomsky is one of almost 500 intellectuals to send Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto a letter demanding “prompt and efficient clarification” of the deaths of Ruben Espinosa and other journalists.
“We the undersigned, as journalists, writers, creative artists, and free expression advocates from around the world...would like to express our indignation regarding the deadly attacks against reporters in your country. An attempt on the life of a journalist is an attack on society’s very right to be informed,” the letter begins.
RELATED: Read the full letter here
Chomsky, an internationally renowned author, linguist and political commentator, signed the letter alongside Booker prize winner Salman Rushdie, author and director Paul Auster, author Margaret Atwood, poet and activist Homero Aridjis, and almost 500 others. The letter was published Saturday in Pen America Center, a regional branch of the world's writers association Pen International.
The letter demands Peña Nieto's government “guarantee the immediate and effective investigation of the assassination of Ruben Espinosa and the shameful number of journalists in Mexico who have met the same fate.”
RELATED: Chomsky Predicts Sanders Will Lose in 2016 US Elections, Bernie Disagrees
The group also demand authorities carry out a “thorough investigation of state and municipal officials who, in each case, may have been involve (sic.).”
Noam Chomsky and his colleagues also asked Peña Nieto to “undertake an immediate review of the procedures established to protect reporters’ lives, and to make a swift and effective commitment to guarantee and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.”
“Today, journalists in many parts of the world are under attack, and Mexican reporters in particular are in deadly peril. Organized crime, corrupt government officials, and a justice system incapable of prosecuting criminals all contribute to reporters’ extreme vulnerability,” the letter reads.
Both Espinosa and activist Nadia Vera, who was murdered alongside him, fled Veracruz fearing for their lives due to their work; both anticipated the local government of Governor Javier Duarte would be behind any attempts on their lives. Espinosa had fled to Mexico City, fearing for his life in Veracruz, something the letter highlights: “This is only the latest in a long series of outrages against the press, and it took place in a city that was considered one of the last safe places in the country for reporters to work. There would now seem to be no safe haven for the profession.”
This is worrying, the signatories point out, because “So far, 37 of Ruben Espinosa’s colleagues in Veracruz have left their jobs, their homes, and their families and fled to Mexico City after receiving threats.”
RELATED: Chomsky Says Washington Turned to Cuba Due to Increased Isolation
In the state of Veracruz alone, “Since the current governor of Veracruz took power in 2010, journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed in unprecedented numbers: 14 have been murdered in atrocious fashion, and three have disappeared in the same time period. In each of these cases local justice has dismissed the victim’s profession as probable cause.”
Veracruz is today the most dangerous city in Mexico to be a journalist, while the country is the second most dangerous place in the world to practice the profession. Iraq is first, with about 179 journalists killed there in the last 15 years, while in Mexico, 104 journalists have been murdered and 25 are reported missing.
The letter condemns the fact that the majority of crimes against journalist go unpunished. Mexico's National Commission for Human Rights has evidence that in many of the crimes against journalists public officials are involved, but so far, those officials enjoy impunity.
Journalists in Veracruz are convinced that the threats they receive come from the state government's office. Since Duarte took office as governor in 2010, harassment, threats, and homicides of journalists have reached unprecedented levels, the letter concludes.
RELATED: Noam Chomsky on teleSUR’s Laura Flanders Show