Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed to increase protections for journalists after the killing of a respected crime reporter in the northern state of Sinaloa drew international attention to the country this week.
Peña Nieto’s remarks at the presidential palace on Wednesday afternoon were met with shouts from local photographers demanding justice.
The scene echoed a response from many members of the country’s press corps, after the murder on Monday of Javier Valdez, a popular and respected reporter who had long covered the drug trade. “I understand your outrage,” Peña Nieto said after receiving shouts.
Peña Nieto pointed to new efforts to prosecute people seeking to curtain the freedom of speech: better coordination between federal and state authorities and more resources to help journalists and human rights workers under threat. Some see this as an empty and recycled promise.
Alvaro Gomez, an investigative reporter in the audience, said he had received death threats last year, but that after he reported them to authorities, he never heard back.
An average of one journalist had been killed every month in Mexico this year.
According to a recent report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers, and violence against them has continued because of a lack of political will to end impunity.