A new legislation came into effect in Mexico Monday aimed at protecting journalists and human rights activists even as police continues to investigate the recent murders of photographer Ruben Espinosa and activist Nadia Vera in Mexico City.
"We are committed to provide safety, protection and ensure the fundamental right to freedom of expression and the right to exercise journalism freely," said Miguel Angel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City.
The Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists will set up a decentralized public body with "autonomy, legal personality and independent assets," he explained.
The new law also provides for an advisory council, which will assist in designing prevention programmes and work plan, a council of evaluation and a comprehensive protection fund for journalists and human rights defenders.
The legislation strengthens the framework agreement invoked in 2012 in Mexico City and will implement preventive measures of protection as well as social, labour and housing related measures, Mancera said.
He added since the beginning of his term (2012-2018), security measures have been established in 77 of the handled cases and pointed out the new legislation must have an immediate decision-making clause and the required budget.
The bodies of Espinosa, Vera and three other women, including a Colombian, were found with gunshot wounds and signs of torture on July 31 in a province of the Mexican capital.
So far a man has been arrested for alleged involvement in the murders while the District Attorney's office is looking for two others, who are also implicated in the crime.
Both Vera and Espinosa had sought refuge in the Mexican capital after being harassed and threatened in Veracruz, the most dangerous state of the country for journalists with 14 murders since Gov. Javier Duarte took office in 2010.
A total of 102 journalists were murdered between 2000 and 2014 in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression said.