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President Of Mexico Promises More Protections For Journalists

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed to increase protections for journalists in remarks at the presidential palace on May 17, 2017.
Presidencia de la Republica Mexico
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed to increase protections for journalists in remarks at the presidential palace on May 17, 2017.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed to increase protections for journalists after the killing of a respected crime reporter in the northern state of Sinaloa drew international attention to the country this week.

Peña Nieto’s remarks at the presidential palace on Wednesday afternoon were met with shouts from local photographers demanding justice.

The scene echoed a response from many members of the country’s press corps, after the murder on Monday of Javier Valdez, a popular and respected reporter who had long covered the drug trade. “I understand your outrage,” Peña Nieto said after receiving shouts.

Peña Nieto pointed to new efforts to prosecute people seeking to curtain the freedom of speech: better coordination between federal and state authorities and more resources to help journalists and human rights workers under threat. Some see this as an empty and recycled promise.

Alvaro Gomez, an investigative reporter in the audience, said he had received death threats last year, but that after he reported them to authorities, he never heard back.

An average of one journalist had been killed every month in Mexico this year.

According to a recent report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers, and violence against them has continued because of a lack of political will to end impunity.

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Jorge Valencia joined KJZZ in August 2016 as the station's first senior field correspondent based in Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the business and economics between Arizona and Mexico.Valencia previously covered the North Carolina statehouse in Raleigh for North Carolina Public Radio. He reported on a controversial law that curtailed protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and on voting rights and environmental policy issues. He also reported on the shooting of three Arab-American students, traveling to Turkey's border with Syria to report on a project the students had started to help Syrian refugees.Valencia began his journalism career covering crime for the Roanoke Times of Virginia and in internships with newspapers including the Wall Street Journal. He has been the recipient of multiple journalism awards for his work in radio and in newspapers. Valencia studied journalism at the University of Maryland and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.