Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Inter-American rights commission urges action to stop violence against journalists

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has urged Mexican authorities to implement additional measures to prevent violence against journalists and protect them from the threat of physical attacks.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR said that in the first 10 weeks of 2022, it received at least eight reports of murders of journalists for reasons that could be related to their work.

It warned of the “normalization and deepening of violence” against journalists in Mexico.

“In this context, the office calls on the authorities to assess the causes and effects of this phenomenon and urges them to take complementary measures to those already in place in terms of violence prevention, protection of journalists and the fight against impunity for crimes against the press,”  the press release said.

The rapporteur also said it has received reports of “recurrent stigmatizing remarks against the press by federal and local public officials.”

The statements came out of the office of Pedro Vaca Villareal, special rapporteur for freedom of expression.
The statements came out of the office of Pedro Vaca Villareal, special rapporteur for freedom of expression. CC BY 2.0 / Daniel Cima

President López Obrador is Mexico’s most prominent critic of the press, frequently attacking journalists and media outlets at his weekday press conferences.

The rapporteur said the human and financial resources allocated to the government’s program to protect journalists have not been effective in preventing the murder of journalists.

“Structural adjustments to the protection system and the announced training of officials are unfortunately temporarily out of step with the urgency of the situation,” the statement said.

“The messages of official rejection of lethal violence against the press are mixed and confused in time and space with stigmatizing official messages that are framed in a complex and sustained struggle of the federal authorities over journalists and the media. The relevance assigned by the authorities to their conflict with the press inevitably overshadows the messages of rejection to the violence they have issued, causing them to lose the forcefulness, conviction, and clarity they should have at this moment.”

Current efforts to prevent violence, protect journalists, condemn physical attacks on members of the press and hold perpetrators accountable are “disjointed, sometimes contradictory, and together are insufficient to contain the phenomenon of violence, … which currently represents one of the main threats to freedom of expression in Mexico,” the statement said.

The rapporteur said it was urgent that Mexican officials take additional measures to protect journalists and recognize their legitimacy and the value of their work and repudiate crimes against them.

Mexico News Daily 

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