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Mexican Media Agrees to Reporting Guidelines

Several Mexican news organizations recently established guidelines to their reporting on drugs in Mexico, EditorsWeblog reported.

While at least one Mexican media outlet called the guidelines an example of censorship, “more than 40 media groups” agreed to “the 10-point voluntary agreement,” BBC reported.  The media groups include more than 700 news outlets in both print and broadcast formats.

Notable signatories includeMexico’s leading networkTelevisa and TV Azteca. StinkyJournalism noted that a TV personality from Televisa and “two companions” were kidnapped and killed in Mexico yesterday.

Among the ten points agreed to, media outlets consented to contextualize criminal violence, protect children and victims’ rights, and promote citizen reporting of crime. The agreement also supports “the media’s right to criticise Mexican government policy and actions in the drugs conflict,” the BBC reported.  And, media outlets agreed they wouldn’t “glorify drug traffickers” or “publish cartel propaganda messages.”

Also, the media has agreed “not to publish gruesome images, such as the photos and film of beheaded bodies that are commonly published and broadcast at present,” according to the Guardian.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has backed the agreement, calling it “a national breakthrough that could set professional standards well into the future.”  Likewise, Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, said in a statement “media participation is crucial in building state security policy.”

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However, nonprofit press freedom group Reporters without Borders didn’t sign the agreement   According to the AP, the group had “concerns” over some of the agreement including the statement that “when the government takes action within the limits of the law, it should be made clear that the violence is caused by the criminal groups.”

Likewise, newspaper Reforma didn’t sign, stating it “has had its own mechanisms for editorial policy.”  Neither did newspaper La Jornada or Proceso.

According to the Associated Press, “more than 35,000 people, including at least 22 journalists, have been killed in drug-related violence since the government stepped up its offensive against cartels in late 2006.”

Fox News Latino reported that the National Human Rights Commission, “Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office,” stated that 66 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000.

iMediaEthics wrote in November when Los Angeles Times’ Mexican correspondent Tracy Wilkinson compared reporting in Mexico to reporting in a war zone. In October, the governor of Mexican state Chihuahua said that there would be tougher penalties for anyone who kills a journalist.  That announcement came one month after Juarez, Mexico newspaper El Diario de Juarez announced it would be curbing its reporting on the drug cartels.

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Mexican Media Agrees to Reporting Guidelines

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