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Mexico Will Repeal New Sinaloa Law Gagging Journalists

Yesterday the LA Times reported the state of Sinaloa in Mexico passed a law prohibiting journalists from reporting crime details not obtained from official state sources. Under the new law, scheduled to take effect in October, journalists would not be allowed to tour crime scenes, or take photos or record video and audio of them.

The outcry by journalists was immediate and justifiable. Today Sinaloa legislators announced they intend to repeal the law in a special session to be held August 21. They say they didn't read the bill closely enough and that they agree it is likely to impermissibly infringe on the ability of the media to do its job. According to the head of the Sinaloa legislature's political coordination committee (Diputación Permanente): [More...]

[Jesus Enrique Hernandez] added that the law was passed Thursday night because legislators had a large number of bills in front of them and did not have time to "notice those kinds of details," adding that similar mistakes are made in legislatures all over the world.

Here's the official announcement of the repeal initiative in Spanish. It says all the members of the Political Coordination Board are in agreement it should be repealed.

While my Spanish was good enough to find the links below, it is not good enough to fully understand these notices (and Google translator isn't much help), so maybe someone who does understand Spanish can explain:

This is the home page for the Sinaloa legislature.

It seems that the Sinaloa legislature's last day was July 30 and it adopted the new national Criminal Procedure and Oral Adversarial System and set dates for the inception of the National Code of Criminal Procedure.

One note: The LA Times reporter speculated the law was part of a trend encouraged by Mexico's president to downplay drug violence for economic reasons.

It may be part of a trend fostered by the national government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to downplay news about drug wars and other violence as a way to attract outside investors.

It would have been nice if he provided a source for that theory. As far as I can tell, the new system is indeed the work of President Nieto, who promised greater transparency, to transform the justice system and to prioritize human rights and promote economic prosperity. I just don't see anything to suggest that he endorsed this particular bill. Still, someone should have caught it before it passed.

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