Jul 5, 2012

Endorsement for a Commission to Protect Veracruz Journalists

El Universal: Americas Program Original Translation
See Spanish Original. 
Local representatives unanimously approved a state constitutional reform initiative that would guarantee the adequate protection of Veracruz journalists.

Statistics from national and international organizations show that from 2000 to 2012 in Mexico 14 journalists have disappeared, 71 have been murdered. And in the last few years more than 500 aggressions against journalists have been documented.

A proposal of the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, the entire State Congress approved, for the first time, constitutional reforms to create a State Commission for Awareness and Protection of Journalists.

During a common session, the representatives unanimously approved the constitutional reform initiative that guarantees adequate protection for Veracruz journalists.

However, for the aforementioned legal changes to become effective, the constitutional reform will need to be approved in a second period of common sessions and by at least half of the 212 city chapters.

The reform to Article 67 of the Veracruz State Political Constitution is the state’s response to a wave of violence that has harmed the journalist trade, which in a year of a half has lost the lives of nine of its members to organized crime.

The Commission will function by attending to and protecting the integrity of journalists, such as promoting conditions for the journalism profession to practice free expression, with full respect to the right to information and freedom of expression.

This autonomous body will be authorized to settle and grant attention and protection measures to journalists upon request, making available the resources and supportive material, financial or functional, that they require to work, and making substantive criteria and guidelines for effective performance.

Also journalists can file reports or complaints before the institutions of procurement and justice administration or in the legal sphere of human rights defense when journalists, as a consequence of doing their work, are subject to threats, aggressions, or immediate risk, and arrange before competent authorities the adoption of immediate attention and protection measures.

Translation by Bonnie Ho, Americas Program

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