Freedom House Applauds Adoption of New Law in Mexico to Protect Journalists
A new law adopted by the Mexican Congress regarding the protection of human rights defenders and journalists signifies an opportunity for Mexico's government to deliver on its promise to adequately protect journalists, which the previous mechanism failed to do. Freedom House welcomes the new law and calls upon the Mexican government to ensure that it receives proper funding and broad political support, as well as the swift passage of enabling legislation to ensure proper implementation.
Two days ago, the chamber of deputies passed a new comprehensive protection mechanism that, unlike its predecessor, safeguards both human rights defenders and journalists. The provisions of the previous mechanism, which only protected journalists and was criticized as ineffective by civil society groups, will be absorbed into the new law. The law is expected to be approved by the Mexican Chamber of Deputies before the presidential elections in July.
“The Mexican government has laid the foundation for an effective protection mechanism that will allow for comprehensive investigations,” noted Freedom House Mexico Director Mariclaire Acosta “but additional steps must be taken to ensure that the law works in practice to combat the pervasive climate of impunity that surrounds crimes against journalists and attacks on freedom of expression.”
Currently, the main body responsible for the criminal investigation and prosecution of these crimes, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists (Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos cometidos contra Periodistas), has failed to resolve to resolve a single one of the almost one hundred cases of assassinations and disappearances that it has received.
Freedom House urges Mexican authorities to correct the flaws of the previous mechanism, which excluded civil society in determining a victim's risk level and suffered from insufficient resources and a backlog of casework that delayed verdicts. Authorities should also allow for an open process of debate and input from civil society during the establishment of enabling legislation, which must be drafted within the first three to six months after the law is approved.
Mexico is ranked “Partly Free” in Freedom in the World 2012, “Not Free” in Freedom of the Press 2012, which was released this week, and was ranked "Partly Free” in Freedom on the Net 2011.
To learn more about Mexico, visit:
Freedom in the World 2011: Mexico
Draft Report: Freedom of the Press 2012: Mexico
Freedom on the Net 2011: Mexico
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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