Photo: Mexican crime scene
The state legislature of the western Mexican state of Sinaloa said it will repeal a measure, denounced by journalists as a “gag law,” that bars reporters from crime scenes and sharply limits the press’ ability to cover issues of public safety and criminal justice.
The head of the state legislature’s political coordination committee, Jesus Enrique Hernandez, said a bill has been introduced to remove the controversial article from a recently approved law governing the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
Hernandez said the proposal will be debated on Aug. 21 before the full legislature and that he expects the article will be repealed.
He 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.
The article states that crime reporters cannot have access to crime scenes “under any circumstances,” may not obtain “information related to public safety or the procurement of justice,” and will have to rely exclusively on official bulletins from authorities for details about ongoing investigations.
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.