[JURIST] Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [official website] Irena Bokova on Friday urged [press release] Mexican authorities to do everything in their power to solve the murders of three Mexican journalists discovered last week in Veracruz. Bokova found it “deeply disturbing” and sad that the last two journalists to be killed were found on Thursday, the same day as World Press Freedom Day [UNEOC website], on which journalists and the democratic value freedom of press are to be honored. Regina Martinez Perez, Gabriel Huge and Guillermo Luna Varela, all killed in the last week, are the latest of nine journalists in the region to be killed in the last 18 months. Bokova said these events “[reflect] an alarming state of affairs in the state of Veracruz.”
The Mexican government has been taking steps to protect journalists. In March, the Mexican Senate unanimously passed [JURIST report] a bill making it a federal crime to attack journalists. Passage of this law came days after UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya released a report [JURIST report] of threats faced by human rights journalists and called for extra protection of them. Sekaggya released a similar report in October, which said that human rights workers were still being harassed and attacked [JURIST report] even a decade after adoption of an international declaration for their protection. In September, Reporters Without Borders [advocacy website] released a report saying that almost 80 journalists had been targeted [press release] and attacked in Mexico in the last 10 years.