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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Protests in Mexico demand security for journalists and freedom of expression




Protesters in Mexico City holding portraits of deceased Mexican journalists. Source: Prensa, no disparen's Facebook page.

Journalists from numerous news media took to the streets in more than 20 Mexican cities on Sunday, Feb. 23, protesting the dangerous conditions faced by the press in the country and especially in the state of Veracruz, news magazine Proceso reported. The main protest took place around the Angel of Independence Monument in Mexico City, where portraits of the 88 journalists who have been killed since 2000 were distributed among protesters.

The protests were part of the “¡Prensa, no disparen!” (“Press, don’t shoot!” in English) campaign, organized by journalists and defenders of freedom of expression last week after they investigated the killing of Veracruz reporter Gregorio Jimenez de la Cruz. The group concluded the official version of events, which said the crime was a result of personal vengeance, did not take into account Jimenez’s journalistic work.

We are here not only to demand justice for one of our own,” the campaign explained in an announcement, “We are also here to defend citizens’ right to be informed. Because every time a journalist is intimidated or harassed, disappears or is killed, we lose a spokesperson for reality. Society starts to lose its eyes, its ears, its mouth.”

In their announcement, protesters asked President Enrique Peña Nieto to guarantee freedom of expression in Mexico, and demanded from the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR) a deeper investigation into the killing of Jimenez and to have his case heard by a federal judge.

They asked the head of the PGR, Jesus Murillo Karam, to release information on the current state of investigations into the killings of journalists, and requested that several state organizations, like the National Human Rights Commission, explain how they were using their resources to benefit communicators.

Finally, the protesters asked the government of Veracruz to guarantee the safety of journalists who protested against Jimenez's death and establish a fund to benefit economic dependents of journalists who were killed.

What’s happening in our country is terrible. It’s one of the few where journalists do their job very well and it’s an injustice and a disgrace for them to get killed for doing so,” said Mexican writer and journalist Elena Poniatowska to Vanguardia.

Approximately 250 communicators and activists convened at the country’s capital, according to Agency France Press (AFP), but protests also occurred in Nuevo Leon and Guanajuato, as well as other states and in various cities close to the border with the United States, where journalists from both countries came together to show their support.



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