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Mexico: The National Centre of Social Communication (CENCOS), including leadership, political affiliation and credibility

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 24 November 1999
Citation / Document Symbol MEX33234.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Mexico: The National Centre of Social Communication (CENCOS), including leadership, political affiliation and credibility, 24 November 1999, MEX33234.E, available at: [accessed 21 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on the Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, A.C. (National Centre of Social Communication, Civil Association, or CENCOS) can be found in the CENCOS Internet Website, at . The organization describes itself as a not-for-profit Mexican civil association at the service of civil society, independent from political parties, governments and churches, seeking development through communication, and viewing communication as a right to be exercised for the country's "transition to democracy" (CENCOS 4 Aug. 1999). The organization's Website provides information on the various projects and activities of the group, including professional assistance in developing popular and alternative media (ibid.; Action Jan. 1999). CENCOS is an active member of the Network for the Protection of Journalists and the Media (Red de Protección a Periodistas y Medios de Comunicación) (CENCOS 4 Aug. 1999; The IFEX Communiqué 3 Nov. 1998).

CENCOS is also reported to be a member of the London-based World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). A 1996 issue of a bulletin published by WACC named Emilio Alvarez Icaza as the director of CENCOS, adding that the organization had produced a report on the repression of journalists during the presidential term of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), which reportedly "made a big impact in media and human rights circles both inside and outside the country" (Action Nov-Dec. 1996).

On 31 July 1999 CENCOS marked its 35th anniversary (La Jornada 31 July 1999). The organization appeared in 1964 as the official social communication body of the Mexican Bishop's Conference; it was founded and has been presided over throughout its years by Ing. (Engineer) José Alvarez Icaza (ibid.). Its former vice-president, Master in Sociology Emilio Alvarez Icaza Longoria, is now a councillor of the Federal District Electoral Institute (ibid.). After siding with the students whose protests were violently repressed in 1968, CENCOS ran into conflict with the Catholic Church hierarchy, and on January 1969 became independent in its operations (ibid.). An editorial in La Jornada describes CENCOS as a lay, independent and pluralistic organization that, through courage, clarity and effective work in the area of social communications has become the "number one" Mexican centre for human rights promotion and awareness, whose exhaustive and thorough documentation eventually expanded to cover other countries of South and Central America (ibid.). The editorial describes CENCOS as a reliable source of free and alternative communication (ha sido una fuente confiable de comunicación alternativa y libre) (ibid.).

A 1998 report names Emilio Alvarez Icaza as CENCOS director (La Jornada 28 Feb. 1998). In two 1999 reports Cecilia Sanchez is named as a representative and as director of CENCOS (El Universal 31 May 1999; Mexico Solidarity Network 10 Oct. 1999). Some of the above-cited reports name other lower-ranking members of CENCOS; however, a list of top executives of the organization could not be found among the sources consulted. Please note that CENCOS was not contacted in researching this information request.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

Action [London]. January 1999. No. 212. Kathy Lowe. "Indigenous Communicators Network in Mexico." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

_____. November-December 1996. No. 193. "Mexican Journalists 'Under Constant Attack' Says CENCOS: The Risk of Exposing Repression." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, A.C. (CENCOS), Mexico City. 17 August 1999. "¿Qué es Cencos?" [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

El Universal [Mexico City]. 31 May 1999. Sergio Javier Jimenez and Sandra Palacios. "Anuncian la integración de una comisión para defender el trabajo de los periodistas." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

The IFEX Communiqué [Toronto]. 3 November 1998. No. 7-42. "Three Mexican Journalists Killed Last Week; New Group Formed to Promote Press Freedom in Mexico." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

La Jornada [Mexico City]. 31 July 1999. Miguel Concha. "35 aniversario de Cencos." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

_____. 28 February 1998. Karina Avilés. "Legionarios de Cristo y Pro Vida, bases sociales de Rivera: Barranco." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

Mexico Solidarity Network, Chicago/Washington, D.C.. 10 October 1999. 10 October 1999. "Strengthening Our Bi-National Alliances: List of Speakers." [Accessed 23 Nov. 1999]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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