Anti-press crime amendment offers hope for Mexican press

New York, June 7, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the final approval yesterday of a constitutional amendment that makes attacks on the press a federal offense in Mexico, a country where journalists are regularly targeted for their work.    

“We commend the passage of this landmark legislation to federalize crimes against freedom of expression as a first step to stop impunity in the killings of Mexican journalists,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Mexican authorities must now fully implement the law by investigating crimes and obtaining successful prosecutions to punish those who are blocking reporting on vital issues by terrorizing and killing journalists.”   

The constitutional amendment passed by 16 state legislatures allows federal authorities to investigate and punish crimes against journalists or persons or installations when the right to information or the right to expression is affected. The implementation of this law will now require some combination of new legislation and changes to federal procedural and penal codes.  President Felipe Calderón promised a CPJ delegation in 2008 and again in 2010 that he would ensure implementation.  CPJ research shows that more than 45 journalists have been killed or disappeared since Calderón took office in December 2006.