Criminal groups exerted extraordinary pressure on the press as they extended their control over virtually every sector of society. Journalists were killed or disappeared, media outlets were bombed and threatened. Pervasive self- censorship was a devastating consequence of this environment. In an information vacuum, journalists and citizens increasingly used social media to inform their communities. The murder of a Nuevo Laredo reporter was the first case documented by CPJ worldwide in which a person was killed in direct relation to reporting done on social media. At least three journalists were granted political asylum in the United States and Canada, and several others sought refuge in other countries. Several major news organizations agreed on a professional code in which they set protocols for journalists at risk and pledged not to be propaganda tools for criminals. But President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's administration failed to implement effective reforms. Despite efforts to rejuvenate the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against free expression, anti-press violence went virtually unpunished. The government's new journalist-protection program was widely seen as ineffective. And while the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill to federalize anti-press crimes, the legislation remained pending in late year.
The Mexican president promised to protect a besieged press corps with a federal protection program, a special prosecutor, and new legislation making anti-press violence a federal crime. But Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has failed at nearly every turn. Analysis by Mike O'Connor
Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro, Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo, and Noel López Olguín were killed in direct retaliation for their reporting, CPJ research found. Four other journalists were murdered in unclear circumstances. CPJ is investigating to determine if the motives were work-related.
The office of the special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression was restructured in 2010 and placed in the hands of a new administrator, Gustavo Salas Chávez, in an effort to improve its record of ineffectiveness. Nonetheless, the new office had no immediate success in prosecuting journalist murders.
CPJ's Impunity Index found that Mexico is among the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, with at least 13 unsolved murders over the past decade.
4. Sri Lanka
The administration's new protection program for journalists under threat was widely seen as ineffectual and beset by bureaucratic rivalries. Only eight journalists were provided help by October 2011, and most said the protection was of little value.
Breakdown of the program:
Hundreds: Projected enrollment in the program.
8: Journalists enrolled.
5: Enrolled journalists who said the protection was ineffectual.
11 million pesos (US$840,000): First-year budget for the protection program, according to official figures.
Sign up for emailed alerts and newsletters to track global developments in press freedom. Be notified whenever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored, or harassed. Or get a monthly newsletter to keep up with CPJ’s efforts to defend journalists around the globe.