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Jemez Pueblo Bans Newpaper That Covered Ritualistic Murder

November 3, 2010

Banning trick-or-treating on Halloween was only the first reaction Jemez Pueblo had to a September killing on Pueblo grounds.  A local Jemez Springs newspaper that quoted an FBI criminal complaint about has also been banned from being sold inside Jemez Pueblo tribal boundaries.

In a clash of values, Pueblo Govenor Joshua Madalena wrote in a letter to the Jemez Thunder last week that the newspaper failed to “exercise some form of restraint,” with it’s reporting of the murder of Matthew Panana and “was out of touch with the community’s perspective”. He stated that the coverage had hurt the tribe and details of the brutal killing in which Lucas Toledo faces a murder charge were not needed.

The October edition of the Jemez Pueblo newsletter, the Red Rocks Reporter, did not mention the murder, leaving pueblo residents to rely on word of mouth for information.

Former friends, Robert Borden editor of the Jemez Thunder and Governor Madalena, are scheduled to meet on Wednesday and discuss the need for the newspaper to be sure it covers the news in a way that is respectful to the tribe.

CBS News quoted Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU in New Mexico, as saying that the tribes is well within its rights to censor coverage.  “The pueblos enjoy sovereign immunity where free speech and the First Amendment are concerned.”

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