05/05/11 – This past Tuesday, May 3, marked the annual celebration for International Freedom of the Press Day. According to El Economista, President Felipe Calderón gave a speech in which he reminded the public how the “Mexican government is one that has always and will continue to respect ideas, expressions, and propositions” throughout the country. The President also acknowledged the great role that the press plays in “constructing a Mexico that is more informative and free.”
However, some organizations disagree with President Calderón’s statement about how freedom of the press in Mexico has led to the creation of a more democratic state. Organizations took this opportunity to express their frustration with the way the Mexican government has failed to protect the rights of journalists. The National Front of Journalists for Freedom of Expression (Frente Nacional de Periodistas por la Libertad de Expresión), better known as FRENAP, asserted how in their opinion, “the past four years under Calderón’s Administration have been the worst in recent history for the Mexican press.” Statistics show that Mexico ranks closely behind Iraq and Pakistan for the most dangerous countries for reporters to work in. FRENAP also expressed how they feel the Mexican government does not have the “political will to take forceful actions that will get rid of impunity.”
The National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) brought to the public’s attention that in a span of 6 years (2005-2011) there have been a total of 68 homicides and 13 disappearances involving journalists and reporters. Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, the current President of the CNDH, called on Mexican authorities to increase their efforts in protecting and defending citizens who work in this type of industry. The CNDH website, as stated by Mexican news source El Universal, contains a guide made up of recommendations that the CNDH has produced in order to help Mexico better guarantee the freedom and rights of journalists. More information on these guidelines can be found at www.cndh.org.mx.