International journalism organizations have denounced President López Obrador’s attacks on journalists and the media as an “incitement to violence.”
The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), a non-profit organization of over 1,300 publications based in Miami, Florida, issued a statement decrying the president’s attacks on news media, particularly those directed at El Universal and Reforma.
IAPA president Christopher Barnes said that the “authoritarian, ideological and derogatory bias with which López Obrador attacks the media can motivate those individuals who only need an excuse to incite violence and physically attack journalists and the media.”
Barnes added that “in a country with high rates of violence, the presidential attitude is like throwing gasoline on the fire.”
The president of the IAPA committee on freedom of the press and information, Roberto Rock, said that “López Obrador’s systematic smear campaigns have also targeted international media such as The Financial Times, The Washington Post and El País,” among others.
On May 13, the newspaper Reforma received threats that its headquarters would be bombed if its criticisms against López Obrador persisted.
Jan Albert Hootsen of the Committee to Protect Journalists also weighed in after journalist Jorge Miguel Armenta Avalos was murdered in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, earlier this month.
“I believe that the Mexican federal government has a fairly complex relationship with the media at the national and local levels. The most extreme case is the complex relationship of rhetorical attacks, of open hostility between the federal government and the media, which could lead to serious threats.”
“Anyone who publishes a story that he does not like becomes a kind of enemy,” says José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Human Rights Watch Americas division, who claims the Mexican president uses his daily press briefings to discredit the media.