Activists and journalists call for law to protect media workers in Mexico

Activists and leaders representing journalists' organizations have proposed a law to protect media workers in the state of Mexico, in the south central part of the country Mexico, reported the newspaper El Universal.

Since 2000, seven journalists have been killed in the state and to date no one has been charged or arrested for the crimes, according to Mucio Gómez López, a journalist from that area.

The proposed law would include a fund to support journalists with benefits like life insurance and free medical attention, according to the news agency Notimex.

Additionally, representatives proposed creating a special prosecutor to investigate crimes against journalists and the media.

Balbina Flores Martínez, a representative in Mexico for the group Reporters without Borders, attended the debate at the Legislative Palace in Toluca to support the bill to protect and investigate attacks on the press, reported the local newspaper Portal. Flores said that 249 complaints of attacks against the press were submitted in Mexico in 2010. Sixty percent of the attacks involved issues around public security; 14 percent involved organized crime.

Flores added that 70 percent of the journalists killed in Mexico received threats before they died while 21 media offices suffered attacks in the past six years, comparable to Somalia or Afghanistan.

The Toluca Valley Journalists Association, the United Journalists Association of the Written Word and the National Syndicate of Press Writers all participated in writing the bill.

The Mexican states of Querétaro, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Baja California, Chiapas, the Federal District and Chihuahua have proposed similar bills to protect journalists.