CPJ's meeting in Mexico on Wednesday with President Felipe Calderón cannot be more timely. A joint delegation with the Inter American Press Association will discuss Mexico's fast-deteriorating press freedom climate.
Joel Simon, our executive director, wrote in the preface for CPJ's recent report on Mexico, "Silence or Death in Mexico's Press": "Plomo o plata. Lead or silver. It's a well-worn phrase in Mexico, one that's all too familiar to the country's journalists. It means, simply, we own you. Take our plata (slang for money) and publish what we tell you. Or we kill you."
And the killing is rampant. Journalists across Mexico continue to lose their lives in the line of work, caught between criminals, cartels, and corruption. The consequences are literally silencing the media, with murder and self-censorship shutting down reporting. More than 30 journalists have been murdered or have gone missing since December 2006. Something has to change.
With the IAPA, we have long advocated for federal intervention to address a problem that is preventing Mexican citizens, including journalists, from exercising their right to freedom of expression. CPJ's principles on federalization--first introduced to Calderón by a CPJ delegation in June 2008--are still on the table.
We'll keep you posted.