Mexican Media Companies Enter Agreement to Better Protect Journalists Against Drug Cartels

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The pact also strives to set higher ethical standards for coverage of the country's narco-related violence.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Dozens of Mexican media companies have signed an accord that seeks to better protect journalists and set higher ethical standards in coverage of Mexico's drug-related violence.

 The so-called Agreement on Media Reporting of Violence lays out general proposals and protocols to guide Mexican media in their coverage of a drug war that has claimed an estimated 35,000 lives since December 2006. According to the non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists, some 30 journalists have been killed or have vanished in Mexico during that period.
Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. In response to the escalating violence and growing number of attacks on the media, some news organizations have ceased coverage altogether of narco-related violence for fear of reprisals.
Some sensationalist tabloids, on the other hand, have stepped up coverage of the drug war as evidenced by the daily, unabashed front-page treatment of murder victims.
The agreement inked this week advocates establishing common editorial criteria to avoid fear-mongering, and among other guidelines, it proposes the protection of victims' identities. Numerous rights groups and civil associations signed the document as well.