Shut-down Mexican College Newspaper Returns to the Presses

Paper to Maintain Its Independence

A student-run Mexican newspaper that was shut down last month after printing cartoons and columns criticizing the university administration regained its editorial independence yesterday.

“The Chancellor arranged a meeting with our old editorial board and announced his decision,” Astrid Viveros, a columnist for La Catarina of Universidad de las Americas-Puebla, said in an e-mail.

“At this meeting, the Chancellor, the Provost and the Chair of Communication Science promised that the newspaper will maintain its independent [sic], autonomy, critical thought and above all our freedom of speech.”

Although Chancellor Pedro Palou—the target of many of the cartoons and columns that preceded the closing of the paper—said at the meeting that the paper still has “room for improvement and change,” he did admit that some mistakes were made by his administration, according to Viveros.

The administration also told members of the editorial board that it would give the paper easier access to information and help with recruiting new members to the paper.

The abrupt closure of the paper, which occurred after a two-hour notice through e-mail sent to Editor-in-Chief Sergio Zepeza, garnered increasing coverage in Mexico over the past week. The local media cast the incident as censorship by the administration and an act against free speech, according to Josefina Buxade, an associate professor at the university and an adviser to the paper.

While the administration did promise the staff the paper’s independence at the meeting, no written agreement has yet been made, according to Viveros.

“We are aware that this is not the end of the issue,” Viveros said. “We will work hard on restating La Catarina to what is was before. We will always fight for our independence and freedom of speech.”

—Staff writer Marie C. Kodama can be reached at mckodama@fas.harvard.edu.