Mexican president signs law to protect journalists

Mexican President Felipe Calderón signed a new law to protect journalists on Friday, June 22, reported the Organización Editorial Mexicana.

“We cannot allow for people to silence those who work for a more just and informed society,” said the Mexican president from the presidential house Los Pinos, reported the news agency Notimex.

The new law aims to establish a Fund for the Protection of Human Rights Advocates and Journalists with federal funding to protect journalists and activists who have been threatened for practicing their profession, the Mexican president said in a statement.

According to the law, federal authorities will take prevention, protection, and urgent measures to protect journalists who are in danger. The new measures will provide escorts for journalists and activists, armored cars, bullet-proof vests, locks, wireless equipment, satellite telephones, video cameras, and even temporary relocation.

The new protection law was created upon the requests of international and Mexican human right advocate organizations, according to the radio station Radio Fórmula.

On June 7, Mexican state legislators gave final approval to a constitutional reform that allows for federal authorities to investigate crimes against journalists, which previously had been under the jurisdiction of local and state authorities.

More than 80 journalists have been killed in Mexico since the year 2000, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press. So far in 2012, eight journalists have been killed, and 17 are still missing. The majority of the crimes are left unpunished.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.