MacArthur-Supported Documentary Draws Attention and Reform in Mexico
April 28, 2011 | From the field | Journalism & Media

A Mexican appeals court overturned a judge's order to halt screenings of a MacArthur-supported documentary film that shines a spotlight on problems in the nation's justice system. The court ruled that suspending the film violated freedom of information. The film, Presumed Guilty, was presented, broadcast, and distributed by grantee POV. It highlights the case of Antonio Zuniga, 26, who was convicted of murder based on little evidence. Flaws in the legal process were documented by his lawyers, who filmed the hearings with the permission of the trial judge. In its opening weekend, the documentary was the second most viewed film in the country. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said he is planning to require videotaping of all court trials to prevent the kind of lapses revealed by the film. Greater transparency and improved access to justice are goals of many Foundation human rights and international justice grantees in Mexico.

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