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Mexican Journalists Protest Continued Killing of Reporters

Veteran Mexican news reporter María de Lourdes Maldonado López knew there were people who wanted her dead, so she applied for a government program that promised to defend vulnerable journalists with state-funded bodyguards, bulletproof vests and other protection. She was a well-known broadcast journalist in Tijuana, where she had received threats, including two attacks on her car. More than 140 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, making it one of the deadliest countries for members of the news media, reports the Washington Post. A decade ago, authorities started the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, a government-funded private security service for reporters, photographers and activists under threat. At least 467 journalists are registered in the $23 million-a-year program. In some cases, the government relocates journalists to different parts of the country, a kind of witness protection program for reporters. Maldonado López was approved for the program in December, but she was shot dead in front of her home on Sunday night. While human rights advocates and press freedom groups lauded the idea behind the government program, they said it was the Mexican state that, in many cases, posed the biggest threat to journalists. The government has spied on some of Mexico’s best-known reporters. In many cases, it was local law enforcement, sometimes acting on behalf of cartels, that has worried journalists the most.

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