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A United Nations panel urged Mexico to pass laws to help protect journalists across the country yesterday, May 14th. A group of four experts, from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, asked the government to stop impunity on murders of journalists.

The panel asked that Mexico go ahead with implementing the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, a bill that would strengthen prosecution for attacks on media workers. The panel does not expect the bill to solve the issue, but does believe it to be a step in the right direction.

“Human rights defenders in Mexico desperately need the State’s effective protection now,” said Margaret Sekaggya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. “They continue to suffer killings, attacks, harassment, threats, stigmatization and other serious human rights violations.”

7 news media employees have been killed in Veracruz state alone in the last 18 months, 4 being killed within the last last two weeks. According to the National Commission for Human Rights, 80 journalists or media workers have been killed in Mexico since 2000, 14 have gone missing.

The most recent murder occurred on Sunday, May 13th. Reporter René Orta Salgado was found dead in the trunk of his car in the capital of Morelos state. Orta Salgado was reported missing on Saturday, and his body was found in a neighborhood in Cuernavaca the following afternoon.

A Nuevo Laredo newspaper also experienced another recent attack. The El Mañana offices were attacked by grenades and gunfire for the second time Friday night. Nobody was killed in the incident. The first incident occurred in 2007, which left a reporter paralyzed.

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