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A Panel discussion To Commemorate World Press Freedom Day

Reporters Without Borders and the Overseas Press Club present : Mexico’s Pitfalls for Journalists

Mexico has become the Americas’ most dangerous country for journalists. And the media are under severe threat in several parts of the country. Forty-six journalists have been killed since 2000 and another eight have disappeared since 2003, either because of their work or most often for an unknown motive. Drug cartels that target reporters deemed too curious, corruption on the part of many elected officials, and human rights and press freedom violations by police or the army are high-risk threats to both local and international journalists. Impunity prevails for journalists’ murderers, despite some improvements on the legal front with federalized jurisdiction over murders and offenses committed against journalists.

The panelists will discuss the risks associated with covering the news in Mexico and on the US-Mexican border.

Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, covers drug dealers, police and government corruption, the epidemic disappearance of women, and the spread of organized crime among Mexican drug cartels into Dallas and Houston. Among other exclusives, he has exposed The Zetas, former Mexican military commandos now working as a private army for drug lords, and obtained and described videos of revenge executions.

Pablo Piccato is the head of Columbia University’s Institute for Latin American Studies. He specializes in Mexican history. He has worked on the political and cultural history of Mexico, and on the history of crime. He is currently completing an overview of crime in Mexico during the twentieth century.

Jorge Luis Sierra is a Mexican investigative reporter and editor based in McAllen, Texas, at the US-Mexico border. He reports on a range of conflict-related topics such as drug trafficking, organized crime, counterinsurgency, gangs and immigration. Sierra has a 24-year long journalism career working both as an editor and a writer for influential newspapers and magazines in Mexico and the United States.

Angela Kocherga is the Border Bureau Chief for Belo Television. An award-winning reporter, she has covered a wide range of issues including immigration, escalating drug violence, and Mexico’s democratic transition. Angela has worked on both sides of the U.S. - Mexico border and for the past year, she has specialized in coverage of Ciudad Juarez, the bloodiest city in Mexico, and on media censorship.

H.E. Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana, Ambassador of Mexico to the United Nations - invited.

The panel will be moderated by Peter Price, of Reporters Without Borders’ board of directors and President of the National Academy for Television Arts and Sciences.

This program is co-sponsored by the Overseas Press Club and Reporters Without Borders.

Reporters Without Borders is an international press freedom organization that defends press freedom worldwide. The organization, kept on constant alert via its network of over 130 correspondents, rigorously condemns any attack on press freedom, lobbies to obtain the release of jailed journalists, supports threatened journalists and their needy families, and fights to reduce the use of censorship, including Internet censorship. The organization also works to improve the safety of journalists worldwide and to support independent media.

The Overseas Press Club, an independent organization of international journalists, has defended press freedom around the world for nearly 70 years through its Freedom of the Press Committee. The Club promotes excellence and depth in overseas coverage by U.S. media through its prestigious annual awards, and the Overseas Press Club Foundation awards scholarships and internships to aspiring overseas correspondents.

April 27, 2009 Time: 6:30 pm - Cash bar opens at 6.00pm Location: Overseas Press Club of America 40 West 45 Street, New York, NY 10036

Please RSVP at or Contact info: Tala Dowlatshahi - RWB - tel: 917 239 0653 Sonya Fry - OPC - tel: 212 626-9220

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