Mexico president vows to protect journalists

Mexico president vows to protect journalists

Journalists hold signs condemning violence against journalists while protesting the recent murder of the of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez in Guadalajara. (AFP/Hector Guerrero)

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday (May 17) promised to better protect journalists after the killing of a renowned reporter who wrote about drug gangs sparked international outrage.

In his first public speech on the subject, Pena Nieto vowed to dedicate "the necessary resources to provide journalists and human rights defenders with the protection they need."

Following complaints by rights groups that journalists' murders are going unpunished, he said he would strengthen an existing department of the public prosecution service specialising in crimes against freedom of expression.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists says that Mexico has remained one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists despite the creation of that prosecution body.

The president said existing investigations into the killings of journalists would be stepped up.

"Violence against journalists and human rights defenders has opened a deep wound in our society," he said. "What people expect is results, and a fight against impunity."

Javier Valdes, 50, was shot dead in the street in broad daylight in his northwestern home town of Culiacan on Monday, prosecutors said.

He was the fifth journalist murdered in Mexico so far this year.

Valdes had been a contributor to AFP for over a decade. He had won international prizes for his reporting for Mexican newspapers on powerful drug cartels.

Source: AFP/de