Mexico possesses a Federal Law, a Protection Mechanism and a Special District Attorney's Office to Address Crimes against Freedom of Speech. Despite the existence of the legal framework required to guarantee this right, in recent years state and federal authorities have practiced the art of simulation. That is to say, the Mexican State lacks the necessary willpower to implement a significant change, one that would allow Mexico to no longer be considered among the most dangerous countries in the world to practice journalism.


This mechanism has as its mission to provide security to journalists and human rights defenders through three types of measures : preventive, protective, and emergency protective depending on the level of risk encountered by those who endeavor to promote journalism or the defense of human rights, with the objective of guaranteeing their lives, physical integrity, freedom, and safety. These measures were motivated by the constant aggression suffered by those who carry out these activities while exercising their basic rights, as well as the loopholes or omissions in penal investigations in cases where they become the victims of some form of aggression.

To fulfill its objective, the Mechanism must first complete an assessment of any risks involved and, based on the results, implement the measures better suited to each specific case. To enforce its mandate, the Mechanism relies on three principal organisms: the Government Committee, the Advisory Council and the National Executive Division; the latter is formed by three auxiliary units (Case Reception and Immediate Response; Risk Assessment and Prevention, Follow-up and Analysis). The Government Committee is the Mechanisms highest power and its main decision-making body. It is composed of nine permanent members, consisting of representatives from the Secretariat of the Interior, the Attorney General's Office, the Secretariat of Foreign Relations, the Secretariat of Public Safety, and the National Human Rights Commission, respectively, as well as four civil society representatives. The Advisory Council is the organism that provides consultation to the Government Council by drafting recommendations or opinions with regards to Mechanism-related operations. It is formed by nine people, preferably with experience in the defense of human rights and/or the journalistic profession. The National Executive Division is in charge of coordinating federative agencies, federal public administration offices and autonomous organizations as well as all Mechanism-related operations; its actions are taken through three auxiliary units.


An autonomous public organism that has as its objective the protection, observation, promotion, study, and dissemination of human rights. Its jurisdiction encompasses the whole of Mexican territory to gain a better understanding of complaints related to alleged human rights violations where these are ascribed to federal authorities or public servants, with the exception of those involved in the judicial branch of the Federation.

Under the auspices of the Fifth Visitation of the CNDH, the Program of Aggressions against Journalists and Civil Human Rights Defenders (PROGRAMA in Spanish) was created. PROGRAMA seeks to provide guarantees for the basic rights and endeavors practiced by those who carry out some form of journalistic activity or the defense and promotion of human rights, while at the same time providing and promoting, through the reception and investigation of complaints arising from alleged violations on the part of public servants, increased awareness among the authorities regarding the importance of the endeavors of journalists and human rights defenders.

To date, PROGRAMA has issued three general recommendations (numbers 7, 17, and 20) with regards to aggressions against journalists and ensuing impunity; however, due to the nature of said recommendations, there can be no determination of specific violations or individual reparations for journalists whose human rights have been violated. One example of the importance of issuing individual recommendations to determine concrete violations and reparations and to identify specific authorities is Recommendation 13/2015 regarding the case of the journalist Pedro Canché, a victim of violations to his right to freedom of speech, physical integrity, and safety committed by the government of the state of Quintana Roo.


Better known as FEADLE in Spanish, this is the agency assigned to the Assistant Attorney General's Office for Human Rights under the Attorney General's Office of the Republic in charge of investigating crimes committed against journalists, individuals and facilities to inhibit their exercise of freedom of speech. FEADLE (formerly known as the Special District Attorney's Office to Address Crimes against Journalists, or FEADP in Spanish) was created under Agreement A/145/10, dated July 5 2010. On June 25 2012, the constitutional reform to Article 73, Paragraph XXI was published, awarding jurisdiction to the Federal Public Ministry to investigate crimes of local jurisdiction against journalists, persons, or facilities that affect, limit or otherwise undermine the right to information or the freedoms of speech and the press. Likewise, on May 3 2013 the Federal Code of Penal Procedures was reformed, establishing an obligation on the part of FEADLE to exercise its jurisdiction when any of the following hypothetical cases arise:

I. When there are indications that a state or municipal public servant was involved in the constitutive facts of the crime.
II. When the victim or affected party has indicated in his or her filed complaint that a municipal or state public servant was allegedly involved.
III. When a felony has been committed as described by law.
IV. When the life or physical integrity of the victim or affected party is placed at actual risk.
V. When so requested by competent authorities of the corresponding federative agency.
VI. When the constitutive facts of the crime have a transcendent impact on the exercise of the right to information or the freedoms of speech or the press.
VII. When there are objective and indiscriminate factors that place at risk the exercise of the right to information or the freedoms of speech or the press at the federative agency where the constitutive facts of the crime were committed or its results manifested themselves.
VIII. When the constitutive facts of the crime transcend the jurisdiction of one or more federative agencies.
IX. When by sentencing or resolution, an organism recognized under any international treaty of which the Mexican State forms part has determined the international responsibility of the Mexican State by default or omission in the investigation, persecution, or indictment of crimes against journalists, persons, or facilities that affect, limit or otherwise undermine the right to information or the freedoms of speech or the press.

However, FEADLE has failed to comply with its jurisdictional obligations despite the existence of one or several of the aforementioned hypothetical cases in which case files have remained under local jurisdiction, contrary to the intent of the aforementioned reforms. Given the situation, it is of the utmost importance to emphasize that the jurisdiction ascribed to FEADLE is neither arbitrary nor discretional in nature, but a constitutional and legal obligation to which it is subject.