JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS

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Mexico's president urged to stop federal forces from harassing journalists


The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has written to President Felipe Calderón to express concern over several attacks and cases of harassment by federal forces against journalists who cover law enforcement.

The letter signed by CPJ's executive director, Joel Simon, says the organization has documented a growing number of transgressions committed by federal forces since December 2006, when the Calderón government mobilized soldiers and police to combat organized crime.

The letter mentions examples of several threats of arrest and attempts to confiscate photographic equipment from journalists who cover police or military operations. It also cites a physical attack against a reporter from the daily newspaper La Voz de Michoacán.

"Federal forces must recognize that the media has a job to perform and must keep citizens informed about issues of public interest—like the impact of violence and official corruption," the letter says. "We call on your government to develop new procedures and training to ensure that soldiers and federal police facilitate rather than hinder this necessary work."