ALFREDO AZCARATE VARELA
THE BAJA POST/EDITOR
Carmen Olsen is a Mexican journalist, in 2013 she was taking pictures of an abusive and arbitrary detention by two policemen, who were violently arresting a man, but then they assaulted and detained her, and pressed charges for allegedly “insulting the authority”, which is typified as a felony, and after seven years of litigation, she had recently been sentenced to eight years in jail, now she´s been cleared of all charges, according to free press advocate NGO ARTICLE 19.
It all began on January 4, when two policemen from Playas de Rosarito Police Department were arresting a person on the street and she took pictures of the violent and uncalled for arrest, and even though she was only doing her job, she´s a journalist, she was arrested and Rafael Rodrigo García Robledo and Juan Alvarez Feliciano, two of “Rosarito´s best” pressed charges against her.
They argued that Olsen had insulted them when they asked why she was taking pictures, she showed her press credentials, and they violently arrested her, and accused her of “insulting the authority” a very absurd felony, it was the beginning of seven years of harassment for her, from the first moment,, ARTICLE 19 has defended Ms. Olsen and given her legal advice.
Olsen´s case is not the only one, this “insulting the authority” legal resource has been using as a mechanism to silence journalist, ARTICLE 19 documented 35 attacks against the press by the illegitimate use of power during the first 6 months of 2020, 15 of them were harassment on Civil Courts and 4 of them were on Criminal Law Courts, which goes to show the extent of abuse some journalists have to endure in Mexico.
Fortunately for Ms. Olsen she wasn’t locked up at any moment but the long harassment and uneasiness she has been enduring for seven years is a very negative precedent since it enables those authorities who may be questioned by the press to press charges and intimidate journalists when they do their job, ARTICLE 19 is an international organization that advocates the freedom of press and access to information and will defend this and any other attack on journalists all over the world.