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Latino Daily News

Saturday August 23, 2014

Sinaloa Legislators Repeal Restrictions on Media at Crime Scenes

Sinaloa Legislators Repeal Restrictions on Media at Crime Scenes

Photo: Mexican crime scene

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Legislators in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa repealed a measure that barred reporters from crime scenes and otherwise limited their ability to cover issues of public safety and criminal justice.

The vote to abrogate what became known as the “gag law” was unanimous.

The repeal will take effect once it is published in the state government’s official gazette.

Sinaloa Gov. Mario Lopez, who proposed the original package of media restrictions, expressed “solidarity” with the legislature’s move to undo the controversial law and promised to be more sensitive in the future to issues of freedom of expression.

Lopez’s bill, which passed the legislature unanimously at the end of last month, not only prohibited the presence of reporters at crime scenes, but mandated that journalists covering the police beat rely exclusively on official bulletins.

The legislation also required law-enforcement authorities to obtain express permission from the state Attorney General’s Office before sharing information with the media.

The gag law was barely on the books when the outcry against it began and both the governor and the legislature quickly announced their intention to repeal it.

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.

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