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A protest on behalf of slain and missing journalists in Mexico City in August. (Reuters/ Henry Romero)

CPJ to meet with Calderón in Mexico City on press crisis

By Lauren Wolfe/CPJ Senior Editor on September 21, 2010 12:56 PM ET

CPJ's meeting in Mexico on Wednesday with President Felipe Calderón cannot be more timely. A joint delegation with the Inter American Press Association will discuss Mexico's fast-deteriorating press freedom climate.

Joel Simon, our executive director, wrote in the preface for CPJ's recent report on Mexico, "Silence or Death in Mexico's Press": "Plomo o plata. Lead or silver. It's a well-worn phrase in Mexico, one that's all too familiar to the country's journalists. It means, simply, we own you. Take our plata (slang for money) and publish what we tell you. Or we kill you."

And the killing is rampant. Journalists across Mexico continue to lose their lives in the line of work, caught between criminals, cartels, and corruption. The consequences are literally silencing the media, with murder and self-censorship shutting down reporting. More than 30 journalists have been murdered or have gone missing since December 2006. Something has to change.

With the IAPA, we have long advocated for federal intervention to address a problem that is preventing Mexican citizens, including journalists, from exercising their right to freedom of expression. CPJ's principles on federalization--first introduced to Calderón by a CPJ delegation in June 2008--are still on the table.

We'll keep you posted.


How can citizens like myself demand that Washington help these journalists out?

I used to work as a US Immigration Special Agent and I know many people from Central American countries were granted temporary protective status or even asylum in the US because of the unrest in their home countries.

These heroes need our help because God only knows when and if they will ever get it from their own government.

I have written similar messages to President Obama's and my state Representatives websites.

We need these journalists to keep telling us the truth about the narco-terrorist insurgency in Mexico.

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