Lack of protection for Mexican journalists

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

His Excellency Francisco Javier Barrio Terrazas, Ambassador to Canada
Embassy of the United Mexican States
45 O'Connor Street, Suites 1000 and 1030
Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4

July 5, 2011

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is troubled by the continued lack of protection for journalists in Mexico, forcing many journalists to go into exile or risk their lives for their work. In recent years, Mexico has become one of the deadliest countries for journalists.

In 2010, 13 journalists were killed because of their work, and four more have been killed since January 2011. According to statistics compiled by the free expression organization Article 19, 129 journalists and media workers were assaulted in 2010 alone. It is believed that the number of attacks against journalists would be higher if many were not engaging in self-censorship for their own protection.

In September 2010, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged to push for legislation that would make crimes against journalists a federal offence. The legislation would allow federal authorities to investigate and prosecute the crimes, instead of local authorities who are often implicated in the violence. In November 2010, the Mexican government announced a strategy to protect journalists, including bodyguards, armoured cars and financial support to relocate within Mexico. However, eight months later, neither the legislation nor the strategy to protect journalists have been implemented.

CJFE calls on the Mexican government to ensure the safety of journalists by implementing protection mechanisms immediately. CJFE urges the Government of Mexico to put an end to impunity in violence against journalists by conducting thorough investigations into all crimes against the press, and making those crimes federal offences.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Mr.Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Ambassador of Canada to the United Mexican States;
The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs