The Inter American Press Association has expressed satisfaction at the signing into law Friday by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón of a measure that will serve to protect journalists and human rights defenders. At the same time, the press advocacy organization urged the government to speed up actions to put into effect a constitutional amendment that brings crimes against members of the press under federal jurisdiction.
Calderón enacted the Law for the Protection of Persons Defending Human Rights and Journalists. It consists of 67 articles and establishes, among other protective measures, the evacuation, temporary relocation, assignment of bodyguards and armored cars for victims of violence, and the provision of technological equipment and bullet-proof vests.
The legislation also authorizes the application of punishment of public officials who deliberately put at risk or cause harm to human rights activists and journalists.
The organization also expressed concern at the disappearance a month ago in various cities around the country of news photographers Federico Manuel García Contreras and Zane Plemmons. García Contreras, with the Mexico City newspaper El Punto Crítico, went missing on May 14 in the town of Tanquián de Escobedo in the state of San Luis Potosí , where he had traveled to take photos and show his professional portfolio.
Plemmons, a Mexican-American freelance photographer from Texas, had arrived in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state, a month ago. His family, who live in the U.S. city of San Antonio, Texas, reported his disappearance Thursday night to local news media.