President Calderon pledges to protect journalists

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  • September 23, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

In a meeting with representatives of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mexico's President Felipe Calderón vowed to put in place by October a plan to protect journalists, similar to one in Colombia, and to launch legal reforms that would make killings of journalists a federal crime, reported the Associated Press and IAPA.

According to the news agency AFP, Calderón's plan consists of an early-alert system, extension of the statute of limitations for crimes against journalists, a change of residence and police protection for threatened reporters, and establishment of a council to identify motives behind attacks on the press.

CPJ said it appreciated the president's willingness to get involved, and pointed out that both CPJ and IAPA long have been calling for federal intervention to confront the press crisis. The wave of violence had left more than 30 journalists dead or kidnapped in the past four years. Carlos Lauría of CPJ told CNN México that Calderón “said all the right things,” but that it is important for him to follow through with his commitments, and do more than just make promises.

During the meeting, Calderón said that authorities have captured a suspect in the killing of journalist Armando Rodríguez two years ago, added El Diario de Juárez. The prosecution confirmed that Hugo Valenzuela had been arrested and that another person has been identified as the mastermind behind the killing, reported La Crónica de Hoy.

IAPA, meanwhile, gave a vote of confidence to Calderón's protection plan, but warned about a lack of resources for putting the plan into action."There aren't necessary resources to cover the magnitude of the problem," the IAPA Vice President, Gonzalo Marroquín, told EFE.

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.