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Mexico ranks fifth globally in journalist killings

The Americas Post - Mexican journalists want some justice and security.

With 70 journalists murdered there since 2000, Mexico is the fifth most dangerous country in the world for that profession, according to a joint assessment published Monday by the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The report said that in 13 journalists have been killed already during 2011 in Mexico.  While motives are not always clear, bloody drug cartels have taken most of the credit for journalist slayings there, many of which feature their trademark decapitations.

Frank La Rue, the U.N. Human Rights Council’s investigator on freedom of expression, did not specify which four countries are more dangerous, but other press groups have judged Mexico in third place, behind only Pakistan and Iraq. The Central American nation of Honduras has also recently suffered an increase in journalist killings.

In addition to the 70 killed since 2000, Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights also lists 13 journalists as disappeared.

OAS representative Catalina Botero called on Mexico’s government to implement a plan to protect journalists, but Mexico’s Assistant Foreign Relations Secretary Felipe de Jesus Zamora said the government has already taken steps to do so.

Roberto Rock, editorial director for Mexico’s El Universal newspaper, said the protection decree announced by the Mexican government in 2010 has had little effect.

“This mechanism doesn’t have the necessary guidelines to even know how it will work,” Rock said.

Official Mexican figures show at least 35,000  killed since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched his war on drug cartels. Other sources, including local media, report the number as closer to 40,000.  The federal government has not released updated numbers since December 2010.