Friday, October 16, 2009

Mexico: Safety Training for Journalists

Mexico: ARTICLE 19 and the Rory Peck Trust Provide Safety Training for Journalists

ARTICLE 19, in conjunction with the Rory Peck Trust, last week delivered its third security training course in Mexico for journalists working in high-risk zones.

Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous places to practise journalism and there is almost no training available to help journalists and freelancers in the region manage the daily risks associated with their profession.

ARTICLE 19 and the Rory Peck Trust believe that, to ensure their safety and security, journalists and freelancers must know their rights. They must know how to effectively protect themselves, how to analyse potential risks, and how to identify and adopt the best possible measure to counteract them.

Journalists and freelancers, including those from Reuters, Associated Press, CNN and Televisa, attended the programme. They covered journalistic practice, coverage of security forces and public demonstrations, and the relationships between reporters, editors, security forces and emergency services. Methods of self-protection based on lessons from other countries were another feature of the course. Participants also looked at the challenges and problems facing media workers in the field, as well as the identification and management of post-traumatic stress and related disorders.

Participants received a thorough briefing on the legal realities facing journalists in Mexico today, including basic media and human rights law, as well as defamation and other tools used to stifle media freedom. The Mexican Red Cross covered first aid, emergency evacuation situations, explosions, natural disasters and survival training.

“When I undertook my first security training course I was already half way through my career,” says Manuel Carrillo, Senior Cameraman for Reuters. “It is great to see that younger journalists now have an opportunity to receive this training, particularly in light of the dangers they are now facing in Mexico.”

ARTICLE 19 systematically documents, registers and follows up cases of aggression against journalists and media workers in Mexico and Central America. Through this work, ARTICLE 19 has been able to identify specific trends relating to freedom of expression which are characteristic of this region.

“Enabling journalists to look after themselves in high-risk situations, while also reporting accurately on themes in the public interest, ARTICLE 19 hopes to assist the media in holding public bodies and elected officials accountable for their actions,” comments Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “This will greatly enhance and protect the right to freedom of expression in Mexico and Central America.”

The course took place at the Mexican Red Cross training facility outside Mexico City and was made possible with the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Mexico.


• For further information, contact Ricardo Gonzalez, ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America Office, at, + 55 11 30 57 00 42 or Catalina Cortes, Rory Peck Trust at, +44 (0) 20 7730 141.
• The Rory Peck Trust exists to support freelance newsgatherers and their families worldwide in times of need, and to promote their welfare and safety.

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