Reporters stage Mexico protest
Journalists gather to demand greater freedoms and protection amid escalating drug war.
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2010 01:43 GMT

Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras reports on journalist marching in memory of their murdered colleagues

More than 1,000 Mexican journalists have marched through the country's capital to protest the killing and disappearance of their colleagues amid escalating drug violence that is increasingly targeting reporters.

Carrying signs reading "Not one more!", they demanded protection on Saturday to do their work in a country international media groups say is one of the most dangerous for practising journalism.

"We're a little late - 64 killings late - but we've finally decided to practice our right to protest, to seek justice for our colleagues who have died or disappeared and to end the impunity for crimes against journalists," Elia Baltazar, a protest organiser and co-editor of the local newspaper Excelsior, told the Associated Press.

Similar demonstrations were planned in states hit hardest by drug violence, including Sinaloa, home to the powerful cartel of the same name, and Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, is located.

Al Jazeera's Franc Contreras, reporting from the protest, said that the demonstrators were demanding the Mexican government take action.

"Many here believe the government is not doing enough to protect their colleagues, as more than 60 journalists have been killed in the last four years," he said.

"While a special prosecutor has been put in place, only three of the crimes committed against reporters have been solved in recent years."

'Pattern of silence'

Participants also hoped to open talks with Mexican authorities on security protocols for journalists, some of whom have stopped reporting on drug violence in fear of their lives.

More than 1,000 journalists marched in Mexico City to demand great protection [AFP]

"We should think about how we can guarantee the delivery of information to the public," Baltazar said.

"We're very concerned about the pattern of silence."

The killings have increased this year, although organisations report different numbers.

According to the National Human Rights commission, seven journalists have been killed so far this year, while Reporters Without Borders puts the number at 10.

Local journalists in Mexico have long been under siege from drug traffickers. But the recent kidnapping of four journalists, three of them with national television networks, signaled a new level of attacks on reporters.

Two were let go by their captors and police rescued the other two.

Al Jazeera and agencies
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