An international press delegation visiting Mexico has called for more protection for journalists in light of their inability to defend themselves against abuses in the country.

The delegation is made up of members of the International Press Institute, or IPI, and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA.

Journalists in Mexico "feel defenseless in the face of threats from all kinds of actors," WAN-IFRA representative Rodrigo Bonilla told Efe.

A total of 82 journalists have been murdered and 18 others have been reported missing since 2005 in Mexico, the Mexican National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said in a report released in December.

A total of 658 complaints were received from members of the news media from Jan. 1, 2005, to Nov. 30, 2012, the rights body said.

Both the IPI and Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, ranked Mexico as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2012, trailing only Syria, Somalia and Pakistan.

Some legal progress has been made in the past few months to deal with abuses against journalists, but the concern is that the changes might be delayed, Bonilla and IPI Latin America and Caribbean press freedom representative Scott Griffen said.

"We have immense urgency" regarding the matter of legal protections, Bonilla said.

Former President Felipe Calderon signed the Law for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists on June 22, 2012. EFE