Threatened Mexican journalists may get armoured vehicles

Threatened Mexican journalists may get armoured vehicles

The government of the southwestern Mexican state of Michoacan may provide some journalists with armoured vehicles, bulletproof vests and protection for their families under a bill still in the preparation stage.

The legislation being put together by Cristina Portillo Ayala, a lawmaker with the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, would protect reporters who cover drug-trafficking and organized crime issues.

It would provide threatened journalists with health insurance coverage and "urgent protection measures", including the cost of temporarily relocating them, Portillo said at a press conference.

If eventually approved by the state legislature, journalists at risk could be provided with bodyguards and security systems at their homes and offices.

If necessary, the news professionals also could receive armoured vehicles and bulletproof vests.

Portillo said she will visit different parts of Michoacan over the next few days and gather the opinions of journalists in a bid to further improve the bill, which she plans to introduce to the state legislature in the near future.

That state has been wracked in recent years by organized crime-related violence perpetrated by drug cartels such as La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios.

Residents of the towns of Buenavista Tomatlan and Tepalcatepec in the Tierra Caliente region, which straddles Michoacan and the neighbouring states of Guerrero and Mexico, have formed Community Police forces to protect themselves from cartel gunslingers.