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Mexican Media Set Guidelines for Coverage of Drug War

Surrounded by fellow journalists, news media owners, analysts, among others, Carlos Loret de Mola, center left, and Sergio Sarmiento, center right, speak at Mexico Initiative 2011 in Mexico City, March 24, 2011

Many of Mexico's largest news media outlets have agreed on a set of guidelines for the way they cover the country's ongoing drug war. Mexico's two dominant television networks, along with radio and newspaper groups, signed a 10-point agreement Thursday in Mexico City.

The accord is aimed, in part, at tightening control over the publication of gruesome images from the drug war. It calls for the media to make sure drug cartel leaders "are not seen as victims or public heroes" and cannot use the media for propaganda purposes.

Another guideline calls on journalists not to publish information that places at risk "the viability of actions and raids against organized crime."

The deal also aims to improve protection for journalists covering stories related to the drug war. Twenty-two journalists are among the more than 35,000 people who have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and began a crackdown on the cartels.

Some media outlets, however, declined to sign the accord. Officials from Mexico's Reforma are quoted as saying the newspaper "has had its own mechanisms for editorial policy."

The Committee to Protect Journalists has said Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.