The Mexican senate passed a bill yesterday that makes killing reporters — and any infringement on freedom of information — a federal offense. As we noted earlier, 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2006 with very little follow through in police investigations.
The hope is that elevating such crimes to the federal level will lead to better investigations and prosecutions. The belief being that there’s less corruption at that level.
Via Reporters Without Borders:
The federal senate’s 95 members yesterday unanimously passed an amendment to article 73 of the constitution allowing the federal courts and investigators to deal with crimes that threaten the work of journalists and freedom of information. The amendment was already approved by the lower house last November.
The amendment says: “The federal authorities will also be able to try crimes under state jurisdiction when they are linked to federal crimes or when they are crimes against journalists, persons or installations that affect, limit or impinge on the right to information or the freedoms of expression and publication.”
Mexico is ranked 149 out of 179 countries on Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom index.