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NMSU's 2009 James Madison Day focuses on journalists' murders throughout Mexico

"Censorship by Bullet and Intimidation: Journalists' Murders in Mexico" is the topic of this year's New Mexico State University's James Madison Day lecture on March 18.

Twenty-five journalists have been killed throughout Mexico in the past nine years, at least eight of whom were murdered in direct reprisal for their work covering that nation's drug trade. In addition, at least seven journalists have disappeared since 2005. Last November, Armando Rodriguez, a crime reporter for El Diario de Juarez, was shot and killed in front of his home and daughter as he warmed the car to take his daughter to school.

The most recent killing took place in February 2009 when 38-year-old photojournalist Jean Paul Ibarra Ramirez from the newspaper El Correo in the southern city of Iguala in Guerrero State was shot three times and died at the scene. A reporter, 22-year-old Yenny Yuliana Marchan Arroyo from the newspaper Diario 21, was also shot three times, but survived, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a watchdog organization based out of New York City.

The James Madison Day panel, which will be held from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, in Milton Hall Room 171 at NMSU's Las Cruces campus, will feature three distinguished border journalists: Diana Washington Valdez, an El Paso Times reporter and author of the 2006 book "The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women," which focuses on the murders and disappearances of hundreds of women in the city of Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico; Ricardo Lopez, the photo editor of Diario de Juarez; and Sito Negron, editor of El Paso's online newspaper, Newspaper Tree. The panel will be moderated by Nancy Baker, Regents professor, head of the department of government, a former journalist, and scholar of constitutional law.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The panel was organized by professors Bruce Berman and Mary Lamonica of the department of journalism. NMSU's James Madison Day is co-sponsored annually by the departments of journalism and mass communications, government, and history.

James Madison Day honors the birth of America's fourth president, whom historians have called the "Father of the Constitution." Madison (1751-1806) was also one of the key drafters of the Bill of Rights.