, MEXICO CITY, Jul 22 – Seventeen journalists have been killed in Mexico since the beginning of 2008, making the country one of the world’s most dangerous for media workers, a non-governmental group said Tuesday.
In addition to the murders, there were 365 recorded cases of violence or intimidation against reporters, Omar Raul Martinez, director of the Manuel Buendia Foundation, said at a press conference.
The study by the foundation, named after a Mexican journalist who was assassinated in 1984, found there were 223 cases of "direct attacks," including 12 murders, in 2008, and 142 attacks and five murders between January 1 and June 30, 2009.
The organization recorded 113 attacks against journalists in 2007.
The 2008-2009 period is "one of the worst for violence against the Mexican media in 15 years," said Martinez.
Six journalists were murdered during former president Ernesto Zedillo’s term, from 1994 to 2000, and six were killed during his successor Vicente Fox’s time in office, the foundation said.
Five journalists were murdered in 2007, the first year of President Felipe Calderon’s term, and the numbers have exploded since then, according to Martinez.
Journalists covering crime are the most likely media victims of violence, accounting for 46 percent of the cases, with those who cover political affairs making up 36 percent.
"The worst cases are with those covering narco-politics, which is a mix of crime and politics," Martinez said.
The government last May offered a reward of two million dollars for information on the murder of a journalist who was killed in northern Mexico.
It was the first time such a reward had been offered in connection with an investigation into violence against a reporter, and suspects were subsequently arrested.