World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Board Press Freedom Resolution - Mexico, June 2017

WAN-IFRA Board Press Freedom Resolution - Mexico, June 2017

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The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting in Durban, South Africa on 7th June 2017, calls on the Mexican authorities to take urgent measures to address the safety of journalists following a recent spate of assassinations that has left four reporters dead.

The Board of WAN-IFRA is dismayed that journalists in Mexico continue to face increasing levels of violence, intimidation and murder. It notes that at least 20 media professionals have lost their lives in the line of duty over the last five years in Mexico.

WAN-IFRA has repeatedly and forcefully condemned the lack of protection that journalists have been afforded to do their work safely and freely, whether covering organized crime, political affairs, or corruption. The Board acknowledges steps taken by the Mexican government to improve safety, notably by introducing a Federal Protection Mechanism, but it reiterates that the measures are insufficient and are clearly not working as intended.

The murder of award-winning reporter Javier Valdez, who was shot and killed on 15 May near the offices of Ríodoce, the local weekly he founded in 2003 in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state, sent shockwaves around the world. The Board of WAN-IFRA notes that, tragically, his case is but one of many journalists who have been silenced by death, and an even greater number who have been censored by other forms of intimidation.

In 2017, the murders of three other journalists have so far also been confirmed. Freelance journalist Maximino Rodríguez was shot and killed by unknown assailants on 14 April in the northern city of La Paz. Miroslava Breach Velducea,a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada, was shot eight times in front of one of her children on 23March in Chihuahua. Another freelance reporter, Cecilio Pineda Birto, was shot multiple timesin Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero state, on 2nd March.

The Board of WAN-IFRA notes that despite promises from leading politicians, little has been done to combat impunity in Mexico. It recognises that Mexico is regarded as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world, surpassed only by states ravaged by war. The board underlines that the current situation is intolerable for a country that takes pride in its efforts to promote political, economic, and social development.

The Board urges the Mexican government to do more in its efforts to end the impunity for those who silence journalists and to rid the country of the pervasive mentality that believes intimidating an editor or a reporter carries no consequences. It recognizes and appreciates the channels of communication that have been opened between Mexican government officials, publishers and editors of news organizations affiliated with WAN-IFRA, and hopes this process can contribute to meaningful change.

The Board further reiterates recent calls to allow special rapporteurs for freedom of expression from the United Nations and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to examine the rising levels of violence and propose solutions that tackle impunity, once and for all.

In light of such expertise, the Board of WAN-IFRA hopes that the Mexican government sincerely commits itself to engaging in meaningful dialogue and implementing effective solutions on behalf of the profession of journalism, before the environment for freedom of expression worsens any further.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2017-06-01 23:16

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...