Four Mexican journalists have been killed so far this year, at least one in reprisal for his work, and several remain missing after a lethal wave of violence in the border city of Reynosa in late February. Pervasive self-censorship is affecting vast regions of the country as a result of the bloody battle for turf between powerful criminal organizations. It is a crisis of national and international implications that requires a strong and decisive response from the government of President Felipe Calderón.
CPJ, together with other international and domestic press freedom groups, has long been advocating for federal intervention to address a problem that is inhibiting Mexican citizens, including journalists, from exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Now a Mexican governor is urging his state colleagues to call on Congress to approve a constitutional reform that will make crimes against free expression a federal offense. During a June 9 meeting of the Conference of National Governors, Baja California Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán said that reform is needed to end impunity in crimes against the press.
Endorsing CPJ’s principles on federalization—first introduced to Calderón by a CPJ delegation in June 2008—Osuna said that reform must protect the rights of all Mexicans, including members of the media. In supporting federalization, Osuna said that Mexico needs “adequate tools” to protect the fundamental right to free expression. “This will allow us to build a more democratic society,” he said during the meeting in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas state.
A constitutional reform granting federal authorities jurisdiction over crimes against free expression has been stalled in Congress since April 2009, CPJ research shows.