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Peña Nieto: Your country has become the world's deadliest for journalists in 2017, even deadlier than Syria

A group of journalists protests outside the National Palace for the slain journalist Salvador Adame in Mexico City, 28 June 2017; the writing reads
A group of journalists protests outside the National Palace for the slain journalist Salvador Adame in Mexico City, 28 June 2017; the writing reads "S.O.S Press"

REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 6 July 2017.

On the eve of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's official visit to Paris, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) wrote to him yesterday to voice concern about the very alarming situation for the media in his country, where at least seven journalists have been killed since the start of the year.

Paris, 5 July 2017
Los Pinos Official Residence

Mexico, D.F., Mexico

Dear President Peña Nieto,

On the eve of your visit to Paris and your meeting tomorrow with your French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to draw your attention to the fact that Mexico has become the world's deadliest country for journalists in 2017, even deadlier than Syria, a country openly at war.

At least seven Mexican journalists have been killed in cold blood since the start of the year. They include Javier Valdez Cárdenas, Maximino Rodríguez Palacios, Miroslava Breach Veducea and Cecilio Pineda Birto, whose murders were clearly linked to their work. They also include Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Álvarez Landeros and Salvador Adame Pardo, in whose cases the motives are still unclear because of the lack of transparency on the part of the authorities in charge of the investigations and because of local level corruption.

This violence, this sad state of affairs, is all the more unacceptable and disgraceful in a democratic country for having existed for years. According to RSF's tally, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000. No fewer than 10 were killed in connection with their work in 2016 alone.

As well as the many murders, journalists have for years also been the victims of abductions, physical attacks and disappearances. And impunity is unfortunately the rule in Mexico. The pressure on the media is exacerbated by the frequent collusion between organized crime and political and administrative officials, and the fact that politicians do not hesitate to verbally attack journalists instead of supporting them. In the past ten years, Mexico has fallen 11 places in the World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked 147th out of 180 countries.

On 17 May, after Javier Valdez's murder, you undertook to take firm action to punish every crime against a journalist. RSF welcomes this. The announced reinforcement of the Federal Mechanism for Protecting Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), and the creation of a national protocol for investigating crimes of violence against journalists and caring for the victims are among the urgently needed measures identified by our organization.

In addition to these fundamental needs, RSF would like to remind you of the other recommendations it has made with the aim of ending this violence. In particular, we urge you to:

- Put pressure on the governments of the most dangerous states for journalists - especially Veracruz, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Michoacán and Tamaulipas - to effectively combat impunity, to reinforce local protection mechanisms when they exist and, when they do not, to promote their creation and ensure their durability.

- Create, within the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV), a special department for journalists who are the victims of violence in connection with their work.

We thank you for the attention you give to this appeal.

Sincerely,

Christophe Deloire
Secretary-General

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