14 December 2009
Mexican congressman blasts lack of action by his government to protect journalists
Mexican federal congressman Manuel Clothier criticized the national authorities for their lack of commitment to solve cases of attacks on freedom of expression during a seminar titled Armor-Plating the Press Against Violence given by the Inter American Press Association and the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM).
Mexican federal congressman Manuel Clothier criticized the national authorities for their lack of commitment to solve cases of attacks on freedom of expression during a seminar titled Armor-Plating the Press Against Violence given by the Inter American Press Association and the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). At the closing session of the event, held at the Political Sciences School on the UNAM campus in Mexico City last week, Clouthier complained of inaction by his countrys federal government to protect the work of journalists and news media, particularly in inland areas, declaring that we need to turn this serous problem into a problem of theirs, on the basis that the government only acts under pressure. Clouthier, who recently took office as a representative of the National Action Party, had until now been editor of the Culiacán newspaper Noroeste, having given major strong support to the IAPAs campaign in Mexico to combat violence against media outlets and journalists and the impunity surrounding such actions. In his remarks Clouthier said, Politicians and officials have an aversion to the press, so what was needed was to work through the media to make the authorities realize that it is a problem of theirs. He added that there is a lack of commitment by the authorities in general to solve the cases of attacks on freedom of expression so we must make them feel that it is a problem of theirs, on the basis that the only time the government acts is when it feels under pressure. Enough pressure must be applied for them to assume their responsibilities, Clouthier declared, adding, politicians and officials have an aversion to the press, and so we cannot make them part of the problem. He also detailed numerous problems of safety, blaming the media and journalists themselves. He stressed that the main rule for news men and women is to be responsible in your work that is the first piece of armor, saying that professionalism and quality reporting are prime objectives to ward off violence. He went on to advise on the need for there to be good communication between reporters and their supervisors, while adding that you can say anything, rejecting self-censorship, but you should be careful to keep up appearances and see the commitment that the media outlet, the editor and the publishers make to ensure the journalists safety. The content of this seminar organized by the IAPAs Press Institute and Impunity Committee in conjunction with UNAM will be part of a 20-hour degree course to be given online beginning next May. Among the many guest speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and the United States was Press Institute President Gustavo Mohme, former IAPA President Tony Pederson, Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information Vice-Chairman Roberto Rock, Press Institute and Press Freedom Director Ricardo Trotti and reporters Idalia Gómez and Clainha Glock of the IAPAs Rapid Response Unit.