Photo: Crime scene investigation
Legislators in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa passed a measure that bars reporters from crime scenes and sharply limits the press’ ability to cover issues of public safety and criminal justice.
The proposal, submitted by state Gov. Mario Lopez, was unanimously approved Thursday night, though one lawmaker admitted later that she voted for the bill without having read it.
Under the new law, crime reporters will have to rely exclusively on official bulletins from authorities.
Sinaloa is one of Mexico’s five most dangerous states, with 41 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2013.
The state that gave birth to the first generation of Mexican drug lords is suffering through a period of heightened violence as rival groups jockey for supremacy following the arrest in February of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Calling the new media law something that would be appropriate in a dictatorship, Sinaloa Journalists Association head Juan Manuel Partida Valdez demanded its immediate repeal.
The association is ready to challenge the measure before Mexico’s Supreme Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, he said.
The uproar after the bill’s approval prompted Gov. Lopez to ask the state assembly to review and, if necessary, amend the legislation.
His administration does not want “to inhibit the free practice of journalism in Sinaloa,” he said Friday in a statement.
The controversy only grew louder with lawmaker Silvia Miriam Chavez’s admission that she voted for the .bill without being aware of its content.
“I feel ashamed because I am not accustomed to being a politician of lies,” she said. “The truth: yes, I voted for it and I didn’t notice”.”