Condemning the murders of three women journalists in Mexico over the past month, the United Nations agency that defends press freedom today pressed for stronger measures to halt the frequent violence against reporters in the Latin American country.
“I urge the authorities to take all possible measures to improve the safety of journalists and bring those guilty of attacks against media workers to justice,” Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova said. “Impunity is posing a direct threat to freedom of expression and press freedom in Mexico.”
According to Reporters without Borders, a total of 80 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, making it one of the most dangerous countries to exercise freedom of expression. The majority of killings have been linked to organized crime and drug trafficking, adding to the overall number of casualties – estimated at 50,000 – since the start of the country’s federal offensive against drug trafficking in December 2006.
UNESCO said in a news release that the beheaded body of María Elizabeth Macías, editor of Primera Hora newspaper from Nuevo Laredo in the state of Tamaulipas, was found on 24 September with a message linking the murder to her reporting on organized crime on social networks.
“María Elizabeth Macías is one of all too many brave Mexican journalists, including several women, murdered because they maintained their integrity as journalists and wrote about the activities of organized crime. It is essential for democracy and for the restoration of rule of law, that journalists and editors be able to exercise their profession without fearing for their lives,” Ms. Bokova said.
The killing of Ms. Macías, 39, follows the murders of María Yarce Viveros and Rocio González Trápaga, whose bodies were found strangled in a park in Mexico City on 1 September. Earlier this week UNESCO also spoke out against the slayings.