Freedom of the press and citizens’ right to know
Outside of official war zones, Mexico is considered the most dangerous country for journalists around the world. Since 2000, 148 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. In 2021, nine journalists were killed. With seven journalists killed as of March 14, 2022 could be the deadliest year on record for Mexican journalists.
Many attacks on journalists stem from their investigations into organized crime and corruption by municipal authorities. The Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, an independent protection body attached to the Mexican Ministry of the Interior, has faced serious budget cuts since 2020.
In response to this escalation of violence, President López Obrador announced on February 14 that the federal government would report every 15 days on violence against journalists and social activists. However, those concerned about the wave of violence against Mexican journalists have criticized the president’s response as insufficient. Defenders of journalists have also expressed concern that the president’s verbal attacks on the press are further perpetuating a climate of harassment and aggression.
On March 14, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, the Mexico Institute hosted a discussion on the importance of journalistic freedom, the safety of journalists, and citizens’ right to know. A list of speakers is available below. The event took place virtually with simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish.
Adela Navarro Bello
“What I thought at the time in the 1990s was that the sacrifice made by those great journalists that we had in Mexico paved the way for a new generation of journalists to practice our profession in a climate of greater security. But after 30 years, it’s not like that, we’re in the same conditions – terribly… The government attacks journalists and when the government – I’m talking about public administration entities that run the public administration in Mexico – he is a mayor, is a governor, even president of the republic, to this is added the climate of violence and insecurity in which all Mexicans live.
“I think at the end of the 1990s, before the Committee to Protect Journalists, and it prevails until now, he puts journalists between two games. Between the threats of drug trafficking and organized crime, and pressure from government entities. And to this he (President AMLO) adds the seventh impunity for violence and corruption because it is not the right time for the period in Mexico.
“It seems very clear to me that the right of reply is a very grotesque construction because Azucena Uresti was speaking in very scandalous and very tabloid terms about protecting the history of the center of a building that was activated at the request of the company itself of the skin to its Senators that it transmitted to really say that it will not be offered.
“This forgiveness cannot be resolved in three years. It cannot be solved by particularizing and thinking, that is to say, by resolving the reflection of journalists, as if this could be done in an environment of decomposition and inherited violence. Going back to my answer, I think the statement is good because it’s a moment where you see where the tremendous hypocrisy is coming from. In response to a statement from AMLO.
Sandra Romandia Vega
“In Mexico there is a climate of impunity… which makes this country one of the most vulgar in the world, where there is no war, as seems to be journalism. Even in this tenor, in this context because there are journalists and also magazines who, as a team, we have embarked on this type of well-mentioned investigation. The investigation of drug traffickers in Mexico City which revealed that the prisons exploited in the city meant a subject which, until now, in Europe, they spoke of in 2018 and 2019 as a taboo subject, in which they did not weren’t talking about – nor want it in the news.
“It is a chain in which the entire judicial system intertwines, but also the executive power and the judicial power so as not to leave aside the legislative power in a country where this structure has completely collapsed. affects as ordinary citizens but here we emphasize that our meanings as journalists are not extraterrestrial or we are special but whenever a journalist is killed a messenger is killed then we try to reveal the reality .
“What are we going to do there if there are no effective accountability mechanisms and if the already mentioned impunity prevails as the main incentive for any type of violence? We are talking about the national average of impunity for general victims of 95% and in the case of faith data, we are only talking about federal taxation to deal with crimes against free speech. We do not add investigation files and there is no information from local prosecutors. But we are only talking at the federal level, 98.5% of cases that have not resulted in a sentence in their history.
“Prevention, justice and reparation for victims…that’s what we promote from a global policy perspective from a global policy perspective that we don’t have, we call the highest institutions of federal and state governments to acknowledge receipt of the crisis and to move forward with a sense of urgency if the solution is to reform the mechanism, we will see the results in two years. What we need to do now, c is to appeal to the sense of crisis of urgency.