Obama and Calderón urged to address crimes against journalists in Mexico

By Dean Graber

President Barack Obama is hosting his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderón this week on an official state visit to Washington that includes talks on bilateral issues such as immigration and drug violence on the U.S.–Mexico border. The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the leaders to put Mexico’s press freedom crisis on their agenda.

“While it is up to the Mexican government to address this problem, President Obama should make clear that the U.S. has deep concern about the situation and considers it a priority,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon says. CPJ also urges Calderón to uphold his commitment to federalize crimes against free expression.

The New York-based Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) also urges Calderón to order authorities at all levels of government to respect press freedom, push legislation to protect journalists, and increase efforts to control violence by drug cartels. “While we recognize that you can not defeat gang violence with a snap of your fingers, you do have the authority to control your own government,” OPC leaders say in a letter to Calderón.

Meanwhile, an investigation by NPR News from Ciudad Juárez, center of Calderón’s drug war, finds evidence that "Mexico's drug fight is rigged, according to court testimony, current and former law enforcement officials, and an NPR analysis of cartel arrests." According to NPR's John Burnett and Marisa Peñaloza, federal forces in that border city appear to favor the Sinaloa Cartel—which the U.S. Justice Department calls one of the world’s largest organized crime operations—over the local Juárez Cartel. (Read and hear their report here.)

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.