ContingenteMx’s public statement on the digital activist alleged murder in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas

ContingenteMx, the digital rights collective, calls upon the government of Tamaulipas and the Federal Government to investigate the complaint made by Valor por Tamaulipas on the murder of his colleague and digital activist, María del Rosario Fuentes Rubio. Valor por Tamaulipas is a citizen network which uses social media and Internet resources to denunciate the activities of the organized crime and its collusion with public authorities.

In Mexico the report of abuses of authority and the collusion of criminals with government officials, has led to harassment, torture, imprisonment and murder of civilians, not only journalists and activists. This crackdown reaches also Internet activists and other alternative media such as community and indigenous radio stations. In Tamaulipas there had been reports regarding homicides of bloggers  that have not been investigated properly by state or federal authorities.

The exercise of the right to communicate and the freedom of expression has become a high-risk activity in this country, and clearly these crimes are aimed to spread fear in society and install a controlled communication over conventional media and independent voices to impose silence.

Although Mexico has supported various international initiatives on Internet freedom, in practice, it has limit controls on telecommunications, and in recent years the federal and state governments have acquired a wide range of surveillance technology without any mechanism for public accountability and audit. In some cases, this technology has ended up in the hands of the organized crime.

We strongly demand that both, state and federal authorities, keep us informed about the investigations related to this case. ContingenteMx has filed a complaint before the CNDH (no. ROMJ1410160020) in order to:

  1. Investigate the alleged homicide of the citizen journalist
  2. Issue pre-cautionary measures on behalf of all members of Valor por Tamaulipas
  3. Request to federal and state authorities regarding all relevant information about the case
  4. To publicly report on the progress of the case

We also call activist, collectives, and the civil society to defend a free internet and not to allow fear and forced silence spreads out. At the same time, we urge online activists to incorporate the best practices of digital security into their networks to strength the integrity and safeness of all. We should strongly continue to make an effort to develop and create networks of solidarity and protection with further national and international citizen networks. ContingenteMx is always open to facilitate these processes. We have made available in our blog, the “Security in a Box Manual” for safety on the internet designed for digital activists and developed by Tactical Tech Collective.

Spreading the fear is against the freedom of internet. This fear impedes the possibilities of Internet  being a network for social change. Silence, pervasive control and state surveillance are characteristics of a totalitarian regime, not of a democracy we fight for.

ContingenteMx

Mexico, October 16th, 2014.

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