UN: Mexico dangerous for journalists

AP News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2011 9:39 PM
UN: Mexico dangerous for journalists

Mexico is the fifth most dangerous country in the world for journalists with 70 killed since 2000, according to a joint assessment released Monday by the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The report said that 13 journalists have been killed so far in 2011 in Mexico. While motives vary in journalists' killings, one factor is the bloody drug cartel violence in Mexico.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's investigator on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, did not specify which four countries were considered more dangerous, but other press groups have ranked Mexico third, behind only nations like Pakistan and Iraq. The Central American nation of Honduras has seen a spike in journalist killings.

Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights also lists 70 journalists killed in Mexico since 2000. In addition, it says 13 have disappeared.

Other press freedom groups consider the 70 figure high and differ on the definition of who is a journalist in Mexico's homicide figures. For example, the Committee to Protect Journalists says since 2000 there have 48 journalists killed and disappeared in Mexico, including three newspaper distributors.

OAS representative Catalina Botero called on Mexico's government to implement a plan to protect journalists.

Mexico's Assistant Foreign Relations Secretary Felipe de Jesus Zamora said the government has taken steps to help protect reporters.

But Roberto Rock, the editorial director Mexico's El Universal newspaper, said the protection decree implemented by the Mexican government in 2010 hasn't accomplished much.

"This mechanism doesn't have the necessary guidelines to even know how it will work," Rock said.

According to official figures, at least 35,000 have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on organized crime. Other sources, including local media, say the number is closer to 40,000. The federal government has not released an update of its numbers since December.