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Monitoring Mexico's Midterm Elections with #BreakTheFear

"Quiero democracia". Fotografía de Marte Merlos bajo licencia CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“I want democracy”. Picture by Marte Merlos under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

During last Sunday's elections in Mexico, the free-speech organization ARTICLE 19 ran a campaign called #RompeElMiedo (#BreakTheFear) to monitor the safety of journalists and human rights activists. The effort focused on Mexico City, Guerrero, Michoacan, the State of Mexico, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guanajuato (key areas where election reporting has been risky in the past).

The #RompeElMiedo network, which aggregates complaints about the harassment of journalists and rights workers, has been activated 11 times since 2013, when it first launched.

La frecuencia de las agresiones sigue aumentando: en temporada electoral, una cada 10.6 horas. Durante la primera quincena de mayo, se registraron 34 agresiones contra comunicadores; de estas, ocho se relacionan directamente con la cobertura de actos de campaña o hechos relacionados con las elecciones. Estos ataques son ejemplo de la falta de condiciones para el ejercicio de los derechos a la libertad de expresión e información.

Desde su inicio, la red ha hecho un llamado directo a los gobiernos del Distrito Federal, de la República, así como a los diferentes gobiernos estatales y municipales, para que de manera pacífica y apegada a los estándares internacionales en materia de derechos humanos garanticen el adecuado desarrollo de las jornadas de protestas y el libre flujo de información en estos contextos.

These acts of aggression are occurring more frequently. During election season, there's one every 10.6 hours. During the first half of May, we registered 34 attacks against journalists; eight of them directly related to the coverage of political campaigns and elections. This aggression is an example of the lack of safe conditions when it comes to the freedom of expression and information.

Since its beginning, the network has called on officials at the city, state, and national levels to guarantee the safety of demonstrators and the free flow of information in a peaceful and lawful manner, according to international human rights standards

As part of its operations during Mexico's voting, ARTICLE 19 published real-time updates on Tumblr about the situation for election reporting, including security recommendations for journalists and activists on the ground. The same platform was used to create a map to track attacks:

Mapa de agresiones durante la cobertura de las elecciones en México 2015. Red #

Attack-tracking map for 2015 midterm elections in Mexico. Network #RompeElMiedo (Break the Fear).

Using the Twitter hashtag #RompeElMiedo (BreakTheFear), election monitors were able to catalogue instantaneously the voting's various irregularities and episodes of violence:

Armando Rincón, INE (National Election Institute) election assistant prevents the press from working.

Cholula police hold back a reporter.

Journalist Azucena Rivas was assaulted in Lara Grajales by people from CTM (Confederation of Mexican Worker) who were riding a pickup truck with license plates SJ90830.

Attacks against @centronline have been intense since the early hours of the day, June 7.

Besides the reports under this hashtag, you can follow tweets about Mexico's midterm elections with the following two hashtags: #Elecciones2015 and #Votaciones2015.

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