7 December 2011

Campaigns and Advocacy

Civil society organisations to host forum: Justice for Murdered and Disappeared Journalists

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(RSF/IFEX) – 6 December 2011 – Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization, the Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET), have decided to wage a joint campaign against the violence and impunity that Mexican journalists have been suffering for the past decade.

To this end, they are organizing a forum on "Justice for Murdered and Disappeared Journalists" in Mexico City on 10 December. The venue is opposite the memorial to Francisco Zarco, a famous journalist, politician and member of the 1857 constituent assembly.

Reporters Without Borders and CEPET would like to thank all those who have already confirmed their intention to attend. They include leading journalists, politicians and civil society representatives, relatives of journalists who have been murdered, and Alan García, the delegate of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. Reporters Without Borders will be represented by the head of its Americas Desk, Benoît Hervieu.

The two partner organizations would also like to thank the cartoonist Rafael "Rapé" Pineda for his support. Pineda is one of the cartoonists contributing to the "¡Basta de Sangre!" - "No + sangre" campaign ( http://en.rsf.org/mexique-basta-de-sangre-no-sangre-campaign-11-02-2011,39540.html ) which Reporters Without Borders has been relaying on its website all year.

In the past decade, Mexico has ranked not far behind Pakistan as one of the world's most dangerous countries for the media. The overwhelming majority of the 80 murders of journalists since 2000 have gone unpunished. Another 14 journalists have disappeared since 2003. The situation has deteriorated even more since the start of a federal offensive against drug trafficking after President Felipe Calderón's installation in December 2006, from which the toll stands at 50,000 dead.

This forum is being held on the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, a declaration that enshrines the rights of every citizen to receive and impart news and information, live in safety and enjoy an equitable judicial system – rights that have been seriously threatened or flouted by the war that has been sapping the country for the past five years.

Organized crime and drug cartels must be combated. They constitute the leading source of physical danger to journalists in Mexico and elsewhere. But major abuses have occurred in the course of the federal offensive that is supposed to respond to this threat. This strategy has proved to be a failure in Mexico as it has in other countries where it has been tried.

This initiative by Reporters Without Borders and CEPET is intended to be part of the broad citizen movement that is demonstrating that Mexican civil society has not in any way stopped defending democracy's basic values.

Together we appeal to journalists, human rights activists and leading figures of the worlds of culture, law and politics to join us at the Francisco Zarco memorial in Mexico City from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 10 December to say: "No to impunity!"

This event is being organized thanks to the support for the European Union's European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.


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