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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

UN and OAS slam Mexico for not doing more to protect journalists




Rapporteurs for freedom of expression from the United Nations and Organization of American States denounced the Mexican state's slow response to prosecute those that commit crimes against journalists. In the presentation of the report, "Freedom of Expression in Mexico," both organizations noted that violence against journalists in the country was the worst in the continent and the fifth overall in the world, reported EFE.

"It appears that government and security authorities simply don't react, creating an environment of hostility against journalists and greater risk," said Frank La Rue, United Nations rapporteur for freedom of expression during a video conference in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 24.

To date, 13 journalists have been killed in 2011, according to the Associated Press. Since 2000, 70 have died and 13 are missing, according to several press organizations.

La Rue said Mexico cannot stop investigating journalists' deaths because there are too many cases, noting that this compounds hostility against journalists, according to the newspaper La Jornada.

The creation of the Special Prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression within the Mexican Attorney General's office was an important step but six years after its creation, there have not been significant results, according to the blog Avance MX. According to the rapporteurs, the prosecutor does not have the financial resources or the personnel necessary to adequately address the problem.

"We don't know of any examples" of the government stopping the violence against journalists that work in Mexico, said Catalina Botero, Inter American Commission of Human Rights rapporteur for freedom of expression.

"Safeguarding the freedom of expression is not only compatible with the fight against crime, it's essential, because its free exercise denounces criminal activity," said Botero, according to the AFP.

La Rue also attacked the law approved by the state of Veracruz penalizing the spread of false rumors over social networks and other media. "The use of blogs and tweets to share information can be very important in a country. (It's important) to not fall into temptation and criminalize this expression," the rapporteur said, according to CNN México.



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