Mexico's Twitter 'terrorists,' two citizens who made mistaken online posts about school shootings, could face 30 years in prison. A boon for organized crime?
The government of Veracruz has arrested two citizens who posted incorrect information on Twitter and Facebook regarding potential school shootings (LA Times, BBC, RSF). They face "terrorism" charges that carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of two years' salary.
Those are absurd charges, and the fact these citizens are held without trial for something they posted online is a very troubling violation of free speech rights in Mexico. The government of Veracruz hopes to make an example of these Twitter and Facebook users, which will cause other citizens to self-censor when they use the social networks.
Blogs and social media have become a rare outlet for free speech in a country where traditional media journalists have been violently targeted by criminal groups. It's how many citizens receive information about the ongoing conflict given the lack of accurate information from the traditional media and the government. If the government now prosecutes citizen journalists, they threaten to shut down an area of transparency.