This article first appeared in Animal Político. It has been translated without permission for the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).
For a Tweet, Federal Prosecutors Investigate a Journalist for “Organised Crime”
By Paola Morales
(Translated by Patrick Timmons)
– Investigation opened into journalist from Oaxaca who tweeted the alleged reappearance of a criminal gang
Sofía Valdivia, a journalist from Oaxaca and the presenter of Radiorama is under investigation for “organized crime” by Mexico’s Federal Attorney General (PGR). On 14 January 2014 the anchor of news show “Metropoli” tweeted from @sofyvaldivia that a criminal gang had reappeared.
In a tweet (pictured above), Sofía reported on the possible reappearance of a criminal group, who were distributing blankets among the homeless.
“I tweeted this information because, just like any other journalist or reporter, the important thing is to inform, right?” the journalist said in an interview with Animal Político. But during her live broadcast on Wednesday 22 January at about 13:15, the journalist received a visit from a person who identified himself as an Investigating Officer. He notified her that she was under investigation for “organized crime.”
“At first I thought he’d come because he wanted help broadcasting news of a criminal investigation. Sometimes we provide that type of service on the program. But instead he wanted to know what I do, the activities I pursue, where I live. I asked him why he was interested. It was then that he told me I was under investigation by the Attorney General for what I had tweeted,” Sofía said.
The investigator handed the reporter a document from the head of the Fifth Investigative Unit Specialising in Crimes against Freedom of Expression in the Federal Attorney General’s Office in Oaxaca. The director, Alfonso Jarquín Díaz “urgently” ordered a “detailed and exhaustive” investigation into Valdivia for organized crime or whatever else comes out.” Sofía could not obtain a copy of that document because it dealt with “something internal.”
The investigator told her she should be alert to the fact that in a few days she would receive a subpoena to testify about the information she had published. Likewise, the investigator questioned her about who had given her the information, how it had been sent, and, among other things, from which telephone. “I wasn’t the only person who spread this news, so are they going to investigate the whole world for one tweet?” asked the presenter.
“I’m trying to defend freedom of expression, not just myself,” said the journalist.
Until the afternoon of 23 January, Sofía still had not received a subpoena to testify.
“It worries me that I am being investigated for something I published on Twitter. I am going to keep on working, because that’s what I do. I am a journalist,” she said.
Freedom of expression NGO Artículo 19 said that the investigation against Sofía “equates informing about organized crime with the commission of a crime.”
Journalist Paola Morales reports for Mexican online news site AnimalPolítico. This story was first published on 23 January 2014 with the title, ‘Por un tuit, PGR investiga a periodista por “delincuencia organizada.’ Follow her on Twitter @paolamoralesm. The original story may be found here: http://www.animalpolitico.com/2014/01/art-19/#ixzz2rK4JIpoD
Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP). Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons.