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Chamber of Deputies approves initiative to make crimes against journalists a federal offence

(CEPET/IFEX) - On 2 April 2009, the Mexican Congress's Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved an initiative to make crimes against journalists a federal offence, with the objective of protecting freedom of expression and the work of journalists.

The initiative would add a clause to the Federal Criminal Code with respect to violations of the freedom of expression rights of journalists.

The approved text establishes that anyone who commits an illegal action under criminal law with the objective of hindering, interfering, limiting or attacking the work of journalists will be subject to anywhere from one to five years in jail, in addition to a fine. If the crime is committed by a public servant while carrying out his or her work, the penalty may be increased by up to one half. Journalistic work is considered to include investigations and the collection of information, the taking of photographs, and the synthesising, editing, publishing and dissemination of information, ideas and opinion via any media outlet. In addition, according to the text of the initiative, the journalistic work may be carried out sporadically or on a continuous basis, may be paid or unpaid and an employment relationship does not have to exist with a media outlet for it to be considered journalism.

After approval by the Chamber of Deputies, the text was sent to the Senate for revision and to be voted upon.

Updates alerts on initiative to make crimes against journalists a federal offence: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/101327

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