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Forum calls for a united Mexican press to combat crime, violence

(IAPA/IFEX) - MEXICO CITY, September 24, 2010 - During yesterday's forum "Mexico Under Siege by Organized Crime," organized by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Mexican press was called upon to unite to better combat the violence against journalists and to pay attention to developments in the promises made by Mexico's President Felipe Calderón.

In his opening words, Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, chairman of the IAPA's Impunity Committee, issued a call to action to confront attacks by organized crime and pledged that his newspaper, El Universal of Mexico City, would "join, support and respect any effort to achieve unity among media and journalists," adding that "we are not trying to lead anything, but to join the ranks in this cause."

Ealy's call was endorsed by IAPA 1st Vice President Gonzalo Marroquín of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, who stipulated the need for "press solidarity" to confront the violence that plagues Mexico.

The forum was held at the Casa Lamm Cultural Center in Mexico City and included the participation of journalists from the Mexican interior, the capital city and abroad, as well as press association representatives. One day earlier President Calderón had personally promised IAPA and CPJ delegates that he will renew efforts to make crimes against journalists federal offenses and push for stiffer penalties and for the elimination of statutes of limitations in these crimes.

During a number of panel discussions with reporters, editors and publishers from throughout the country an agreement was reached to monitor the federal government's promises and support the formation of a state system to protect journalists, with collaboration from civil society – a plan also announced by Calderón. Forum attendees committed to continue the push for a united front among reporters in order to exert pressure.
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