Individuals and companies in the Mexican media were victims of 362 acts of aggression in the first half of 2021, an average of one act every 12 hours, according to a press freedom advocacy organization.
“The violence against the press is generalized in the country, and in practically all states, attacks against journalists and the media were documented,” the organization Article 19 noted in a summary of its new report on press freedom in Mexico.
Aggressive actions against journalists between January and June included intimidation and harassment (113 documented incidents), threats (54), physical attacks (35), illegitimate use of public power (35), abductions (16) and murders (3).
Eighty-three — or 23% of the aggressions — were committed by government officials, according to the organization’s report.
President López Obrador is one elected representative who frequently rails against the press, and he has even gone so far as to incorporate weekly fake news debunking sessions into his morning news conferences. Other perpetrators of aggression against the media included private citizens, political parties, security forces and organized crime groups.
“It mustn’t be forgotten that violence against the press perpetrated by rulers and aspirants to government contravenes freedom of speech standards on the one hand and breaches the obligations of the state to guarantee … the protection of the press on the other,” Article 19 said.
Mexico City was the state with the highest number of aggressive acts during the period, with 64. Tamaulipas and Quintana Roo followed, both with 23. Other states with higher numbers included Puebla (22), Guerrero (21) and Baja California (19).
One in three of the aggressive acts occurred online.
Men were victims on 198 occasions, while women were targeted 118 times, Article 19 said. Media organizations, rather than individual journalists, were identified as victims on 41 occasions.
Article 19 also noted that three journalists were murdered in the first half of 2021, adding that their deaths were possibly linked to their work. The journalists were Benjamín Morales Hernández in Sonora, Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera in Oaxaca and Saúl Tijerina Rentería in Coahuila.
Article 19 also noted that two journalists have been murdered in the second half of the year and 22 have lost their lives to violence since President López Obrador took office in December 2018.
“This scenario indicates that in this third year of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, violence against the press continues without showing any sign of decline,” it said, adding, “… The Mexican state continues to fail to fulfill its obligations in matters of human rights, freedom of speech and access to information.”
“… In view of the continuation of violence against journalists and media outlets in the first half of 2021, as well as the continual failures and omissions of the Mexican state, Article 19 reiterates to the state [that it must] comply with those obligations,” the organization said.
“… It urges the taking of coordinated actions by the various states and levels of government with the aim of protecting the press in Mexico.”
Mexico News Daily