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Mexican Government Censors Website That Documents Human Rights Abuses

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Article published on Reforma newspaper: “Members of 1DMX denounce censorship”

[All links lead to Spanish-language web pages unless otherwise noted.]

Activists from the organization #1DMX have published a press release denouncing the Mexican government for its role in ordering the deactivation [en] of the website 1Dmx.org [en] last year.

1Dmx.org was a site created to document human rights violations and police abuse that took place during the inauguration of current President Enrique Peña Nieto. After it was taken down, the site was uploaded in a mirror address, original.op1d.mx.

The press release stated that web domain company GoDaddy “confirmed that the Mexican agency that asked the American government to censor 1Dmx.org was the Specialized Center for Technological Response (CERT)”, a department of the National Security Commission of the Federal Police that has reported to the Ministry of Interior since 2013. Meanwhile, Mexican and US authorities have not released any official statements regarding this case.

It went on to raise various questions:

¿Cuántas páginas más ha tirado el gobierno mexicano? ¿Por qué el gobierno estadounidense colabora para censurar la libre manifestación de las ideas en otros países? ¿Quiénes deberían estar bajo investigación, las autoridades que reprimen o la ciudadanía que documenta y denuncia esos abusos?

How many pages has the Mexican government taken down? Why is the American government cooperating to censor free speech in other countries? Who should be under investigation: the authorities who repress or the citizens who document and denounce these abuses?

And it concluded:

Llamamos a los usuarios, a los medios de comunicación y a la ciudadanía en general a defender Internet como un espacio libre, desde dónde se puedan expresar, consultar y discutir ideas, tanto afines como críticas de los gobiernos. Si la censura no respeta fronteras, que la libertad, la información y la solidaridad tampoco lo hagan.

We invite netizens, the media, and the general public to defend the Internet as a free space where anyone can express, consult or discuss ideas for or against governments. If censorship doesn't respect borders, then liberty, information and solidarity shouldn't either.

A YouTube video uploaded by Operación1Dmx explains the story behind this censorship:

Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) further explains:

Luis Fernando García, 1dmx.org lawyer for the protestors, suspected that the call to bring down the site came from further afield than the U.S. embassy, and is suing several authorities in the Mexican courts to discover exactly which government agency passed on the order to the U.S. Embassy. Their court case, announced today, will continue to pursue the Mexican authorities to find the source of the demand, which the case contends violates Mexico's legal protections for freedom of expression.

On the morning of March 4, users of the Mexican web commented on the news. Twitter user Sandra Patargo, for example, pointed to the apparent double standard of the National Digital Strategy Coordinator of the Mexican Presidency:

Alejandra Lagunes’ digital strategy says it looks after digital rights, and then they order the take down of a page that denounces human rights violations

Proof of Internet censorship by the US embassy in Mexico. Today 11am at ███ with ███

@capital21 gathered some tweets published during the press conference on Storify.

The website Animal Político published some details about the press conference given by Luis Fernando García (@tumbolian), the website's lawyer, who reported that the hearing for the trial was scheduled for February 17; however, due to the resistance given by the Ministry of Interior and the Commission to hand in the information, it was moved to April 5:

“Hay un ánimo gubernamental de control y se sienten amenazados por las libertades de expresión y organización que internet supone. La censura en internet no es hipotética en México, es una realidad. Más que el juicio, exigimos una respuesta de por qué están censurando internet”, señaló el abogado.

“There's a control mindset in the government and they feel threatened by freedom of speech and organization that the Internet poses. Internet censorship is not hypothetical in Mexico; it is a reality. Besides the judgement, we demand an answer about why they are censoring the internet”, the lawyer stated.

Half jokingly and half seriously, activist Robles Maloof tweeted:

Now how is Barack Obama going to tell China that it attacks the Internet by blocking webpages if he helps Enrique Peña Nieto do the same?

You can follow the Twitter account @censuramx and the hashtag #CensuraMEXta for updates on the matter.

  • Laila

    Lol oh the irony .

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