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Mexico: Uproar Over Twitter Law Proposed by Veracruz Governor

On August 25, in the city of Veracruz –one of Mexico's most important ports– the rumor that some public schools would be targeted by drug cartels started circulating on Twitter.

Seized with fear, parents desperately went to pick up their children from school to bring them to safety.

That same day, regarding these reports, the Governor of the state of Veracruz, Javier Duarte (@Javier_Duarte), declared on Twitter:

Ya tenemos ubicado el origen de toda la desinformación de hoy, quiero informar q esto tendrá consecuencias legales Art. 311 (terrorismo)

We have located the source of today's misinformation, I would like to report that this will have legal consequences Art. 311 (terrorism)

The idea that Twitter users would be publicly persecuted sparked even greater outrage when the news broke that the governor was pushing a bill in the State's Congress to punish those who spread rumors on the charge of “disturbing public order”. Twitter users labeled the law #LeyJavierDuarte (“Javier Duarte Law”). Animal Político published the bill's text [es].

Robles Maloof [es] mentions that this issue has had little coverage in Mexico:

Solo poco a poco va siendo un tema de relevancia en nuestro país. Frente a esto Javier Duarte persiste en su actitud represiva y prepara una iniciativa que castigue penalmente la difusión del rumor por medios digitales.

Only gradually has this become a major issue in our country. Javier Duarte persists in his repressive attitude and is preparing an initiative to criminally punish spreading rumors through digital media.

Federico Zuvire [es] in the blog Salmoblog wonders: Who is responsible for unleashing this paranoia?:

¿La psicosis desatada es culpa de un par de personas que publicaron algo en las redes sociales? ¿No será a caso el estado permanente de las cosas: el  ánimo de miedo generado por la guerra que libra el gobierno? ¿No es a caso justamente a través de ese “terrorismo psicológico” que Calderón justifica y mantiene en marcha esta guerra?

Are a couple of people that published something on social networks responsible for the paranoia that has been unleashed? Could this be the permanent state of things: the atmosphere of fear generated by the war waged by the government? Isn't Calderón justifying and keeping up this war through this ‘psychological terrorism'?

The bill was approved [es] on September 21 by the Institutional Revolutionary Party majority bloc, unleashing a wave of indignation on the Mexican blogosphere. Chingadanews [es] calls on Twitter users to confront the state representatives who passed the law:

Y por si quería saber quienes fueron los pendejos diputados que votaron a FAVOR de la Ley más inaudita del mundo, la Ley Javier Duarte que encarrcel twitteros, aquí mero están, al menos los que tienen twitter, porque a los que se les ocurra abrirla, también les lloverá,

And if you wanted to know who were the dumb representatives that voted in FAVOR of the most outrageous law in the world, the Javier Duarte Law which imprisons Twitter users, here they are, at least those who have Twitter, because those who decide to open an account will also hear from us

Eduardo Polis [es] criticizes the government's actions:

Qué triste es ver a un gobierno que, en lugar de hacer sentir a sus ciudadanos respaldados por éste los hace sentir que deben cuidarse de él; que además de la preocupación por la creciente delincuencia organizada, deben cuidar en exceso lo que escriben porque si el gobernador amaneció de malas y lee un tweet que no le guste, aplicará su subjetiva ley contra quien él desee.

How sad to see a government that instead of making its citizens feel protected by it, instead makes them feel they have to guard against it; that in addition to their growing concern about organized crime, citizens have to be excessively careful with what they write because if the governor wakes up in a bad mood and reads a tweet that he doesn't like, he will apply his subjective law against whoever he wants.

Daniel Gershenson (@alconsumidor) has undertaken an ongoing campaign against the governor and the law he promoted.

Y volvemos a decir al ridículo|inepto gobernadir (sic) #Veracruz#leyjavierduarte caerá pronto x su propio peso. Ciao, #buganza#reynaldo

And we once again tell the ridiculous, inept governor of #Veracruz. #leyjavierduarte will inevitably fall. Ciao, #buganza [Interior Secretary of Veracruz, Gerardo Buganza] and #reynaldo [Veracruz Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar]

J.S. Zolliker (@zolliker) warns that the risks of this Law may extend beyond the Twittersphere:

Ya se dieron cuenta que con la #LeyJavierDuarte si quisieran silenciar medios, podrían encubrir casos como los 35 cadáveres de hoy?

Did you realize that with the #LeyJavierDuarte if they wanted to silence media, they could cover up cases like today's dumping of 35 dead bodies?

Eleanor Abernathy (@headbangirl) expresses the frustration felt by many citizens towards the legislative power:

Lo que esta cabron es que “trabajen” en chinga para sacar cosas como la #LeyJavierDuarte y no para otras cosas mas urgentes

What sucks is that they work so fast to pass things like the #LeyJavierDuarte and not other more urgent matters

Some have even questioned the constitutionality [es] of the Law, and have asked other users to advocate for its unconstitutionality, like @tipographo:

Pidan una acción de inconstitucionalidad contra #LeyJavierDuarte a presidencia@cndh.org.mx y comentarios@cedhveracruz.org

Send a claim of unconstitutionality against #LeyJavierDuarte to presidencia@cndh.org.mx and comentarios@cedhveracruz.org

Jesús C. (@xjesus) gives Twitter users advice so that they are not imprisoned when they share information:

Para brincarse la #LeyJavierDuarte sólo agreguen a sus tweets “sin confirmar” y ya no estarán AFIRMANDO la existencia de ataques #verfollow

To avoid the #LeyJavierDuarte just add to your tweets “unconfirmed” and you will not be CONFIRMING the existence of attacks #verfollow

The two accused Twitter uses were incarcerated on charges of terrorism on social networks for the August 25 episode; they were released on September 22.

1 comment

  • It is important to say that the two accused persons (twitter-users) were released because of the unsustainability of the charges against them, not because of the law recently approved that allows censorship in every media (radio-TV-social media). The Javier Duarte’s Government says they were released after the approval of this law but they’re lying, the government is just trying to get out of this mess in the “cleanest” way that can be possible for them.

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