Fox calls for probe in Lydia Cacho case.
The federal government on Wednesday condemned an alleged plot by a state governor and a prominent businessman to jail a journalist for libel after she wrote a book about networks of pedophiles and child pornographers.
Police arrested reporter Lydia Cacho in December in Cancun, drove her 20 hours to Puebla, and charged her with making false accusations against the businessman in her book, "The Demons of Eden."
The alleged plot to make the arrest came to light Tuesday when W Radio and capital newspaper La Jornada aired a taped conversation reported to be between Puebla Gov. Mario Marín and the businessman.
Rubén Aquilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, on Wednesday said that the supposed conspiracy against Cacho should be thoroughly investigated.
"The presidency condemns acts by any authority that violate the rule of law and try to limit freedom of expression, especially the liberty of the press," Aguilar said in a news conference. "Cases like this one have no place in the republic."
Cacho was released on bail, but still faces defamation charges.
In the taped conversation, the voice identified by local media as that of the businessman offers Marín "a beautiful bottle of cognac" after the two discuss the arrest of Cacho.
Marín on Wednesday denied that the voice in the recording is his. At a news conference, he called the reports about his involvement "lies and falsehoods" and called the recording a poorly made fraud.
La Jornada and W Radio said they did not know who provided them with the tape.
The two leading presidential candidates, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party, also denounced the alleged plot.
Additionally, some federal deputies have demanded the resignation of Marín, who is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
PRI presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo called for an investigation, but stopped short of coming out against Marín.
A spokesman for the governor, Valentín Meneses, told W Radio that the recording violated Mexico´s privacy laws - though he denied the governor was involved.
Aguilar said that the president´s office also condemns the taping of private conversations.
"What we have heard in these recordings is brutal," he said. "It is outrageous. Nobody can justify it. But it is also outrageous that there is a continued violation of the rule of law and that personal conversations are recorded."
In the last three years, several tapes and videos showing alleged acts of corruption have been aired on television. One showed alleged federal agents shooting dead a supposed drug trafficker they were holding. Another showed a politician packing a suitcase with wads of dollar bills in the office of a construction contractor.
The way Cacho was arrested has been criticized by several international journalist groups, including Reporters Without Borders and the Inter-American Press Association.
[Source: Miami Herald by Wire reports El Universal, Mex, 16Feb06]
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