Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
The situation of press freedom further improved in 2002 as the administration of President Vincente Fox continued to enact democratic reforms. The country's first freedom-of-information law was passed; it will allow citizens access to nearly all federal government information with the exception of information on private citizens or that which is considered vital to national security. Libel, however, remains a criminal offense, and there were several cases during the year of journalists being prosecuted under defamation laws. Several journalists were threatened or harassed for having reported on official corruption or the criminal activities of drug cartels, and at least two journalists were murdered because of their work. In an attempt to review the status of inquiries into crimes against journalists, the Government Ministry has set up a review board that includes representatives of human rights and press organizations to work through the cases. Media outlets, which are mostly private, are largely dependent on the government for advertising revenues. There were reports in the states of Chiapas and Baja California that the government had withdrawn advertising funds in response to unfavorable coverage. Television news independence has been enhanced by greater political pluralism, and the media have shown a high degree of editorial independence. Bribery of journalists, which was common in the past, is on the decline.