Journalists have taken to the streets of Mexico City to protest the recent wave of murders against press representatives by organized crime syndicates, and to call on the government to do more to bring them to justice.
The protest, which took place at the weekend, involved more than 100 journalists, photographers and activists, who gathered at the Angel of the Independence Monument in Mexico City.
The protest has been sparked by a continued wave of violence hitting the country. On May 3, the same day that the international community celebrated World Press Freedom Day, the dismembered bodies of journalists Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna and photographer Esteban Rodríguez were found in a canal near the port of Veracruz. Also the remains of the body of Irasema Becerra, who was the girlfriend of Luna, was also found.
Their deaths took place five days after another journalist, Regina Martínez, was murdered at her home in Xalapa, Veracruz. Martínez was a correspondent for the weekly magazine Proceso, covering news on crime and drugs trafficking.
Alvaro Delgado, reporter for the magazine Proceso, said during the protests that the violence "not only affects a specific media or work group. It also violates the right of all the Mexican community to receive information, one of the key elements for any regime that aspires to be democratic."
Also Carmen Aristegui, well known TV presenter for CNN, said during the demonstration: "The impunity on which the murders and aggressions to journalists in Veracruz remains, especially the ones that happened in 2011, show the incapacity or the lack of interest from the state government, or both things, to solve the crimes against a group for which safety is at the center of the democratic life."
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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum (WAN-IFRA) wrote a letter last Friday to Mexican President Felipe Calderón, calling for an urgent investigation into the crimes.
"We are seriously concerned at the horrific levels of violence facing journalists in México and, in particular, Veracruz State. In the past two years, the situation of the media in Veracruz has severely deteriorated. The murders of Mr. Huge, Mr. Luna and Mr. Rodriguez take the total number of journalists to have been killed in Veracruz in the past 18 months to 8, with at least 13 more having fled the state in the past year," says the letter.
Jacob Mathew and Erik Bjerager, presidents of both organizations, asked Calderón in the letter to "ensure that urgent investigations into the murders of Mr. Huge, Mr. Luna, Mr. Rodríguez and Ms. Martínez are carried out and that those responsible are quickly brought to justice. We ask you to do everything in your power to end the climate of impunity and to ensure the safety of journalists."
According to the WAN-IFRA, at least 43 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since President Calderón took office in 2006.