On 30 April 2012, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the Senate bill that requests a Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists. During this session, the assembled also observed a minute of silence to honor the memory of the journalist Regina Martínez, who was murdered on 28 April in Xalapa, Veracruz.
The law creates a public committee and a mechanism of protection to attend to human-rights defenders and journalists who have received death-threats, intimidation, and harassment due to their work. The urgent measures of prevention should be applied no later than three hours after the complaint, and among other things there is considered the possibility of police protection, cars with tinted windows, protective vests, evacuation, and even temporary relocation for rights-defenders and journalists as well as their families, if this is seen to be necessary. It will also create means of prevention that seek to develop public policies toward the end of reducing the risk-factors that favor aggression.
Human-rights organizations and journalists who have worked for the construction of this law congratulated themselves with this turn of events, and they called on the Federal Executive to publish it as soon as possible in the Official Daily of the Federation. If it is true that “the law is not a panacea,” as Alejandro Cerezo notes, director of Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders, it “represents a first step for the prevention and protection of two populations who share the same risks in their activities. It actually has many virtues in its content, which could help to surveil the efficacy of the mechanism, which includes the creation of a Consultative Council and a Government Council made up of journalists and persons who are defenders of human rights.”
For more information (in Spanish):
Aval en San Lázaro a Ley para protección de defensores y periodistas(La Jornada, 30 de abril de 2012)
Aprueban diputados Ley de Protección a Defensores de DH y Periodistas (La Jornada, 30 de abril de 2012)
Exigen diputados “esclarecer de inmediato” el asesinato de Regina(Proceso, 30 de abril de 2012)
Satisface a AI aprobación de ley para proteger a periodistas (Milenio, 1ero de mayo de 2012)
Vídeo: Conferencia de Prensa: México muestra un avance en la protección a personas defensoras y periodistas (CENCOS, 2 de mayo de 2012)
Apremian al Ejecutivo a publicar ley que protege a activistas y periodistas (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2012)