The federal government’s tendency to deny and hide human rights-related problems worsened last year, according to press freedom advocacy organization Article 19.
The organization said in its 2021 report on freedom of expression, access to information and respect of human rights in Mexico that the government’s tendency to deny and obfuscate in its official discourse had gained strength.
The report — entitled Negación (Denial) — asserted that the government refuses to acknowledge problems such as violence, corruption and impunity and in doing so “deepens” those problems.
In a press release and at the presentation of the report in Mexico City by regional director Leopoldo Maldonado, Article 19 posited that the denial of human rights-related problems is the mechanism the government uses to discredit critical discourse against it and amounts to official disinformation.
The government’s assertions and data – primarily presented at President López Obrador’s weekday press conferences – are difficult to confirm, Maldonado said.
He also said that the government’s official discourse stigmatizes the press and provokes violence against media workers, as well as other negative consequences. The press freedom organization’s report said that the news media was stigmatized by López Obrador and other government officials at least 71 times at the president’s conferences last year.
It also noted that seven journalists were murdered in 2021 and that there were 644 attacks against members of the press motivated by their journalistic work.
In its press release, Article 19 said there were 1,945 attacks against members of the press in the first three years of López Obrador’s administration, including 30 murders and two abductions.
In the same period of former president Enrique Nieto’s six-year term, there were 1,053 attacks and 15 murders of journalists, the organization said, noting that attacks increased almost 85% under López Obrador’s administration.
The 2019–21 period was Mexico’s worst ever three-year period for violence against the media, Article 19 said.
The organization made 36 urgent recommendations to the government with respect to freedom of speech and freedom of information issues. Among them: combat impunity for attacks on members of the press and eliminate legal restrictions on freedom of speech.
Mexico News Daily