The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) warned of “the normalization and deepening of violence against journalists in Mexico,” and called on the authorities to take complementary measures to those that are underway to prevent more cases and not leave crimes against the press unpunished.
The IACHR reported that in the first ten weeks of 2022 it received at least eight reports of murders of journalists for reasons that could be related to the exercise of their profession, a figure that is close to the total number of homicides against communicators committed in 2021, with ten cases registered.
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Through a statement, he said that so far this year at least two attacks against reporters have also been documented, and that there are “recurrent stigmatizing accusations against the press by federal and local public officials.”
“The Office of the Rapporteur observes with particular concern the resurgence of violence against journalists in Mexico and reiterates that this type of attack violates freedom of expression both in its individual and collective dimension, since it affects society’s right to be informed, and cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he emphasized.
🇲🇽 #México La @RELE_CIDH warns of the normalization and intensification of violence against journalists; and calls on the authorities to measure the causes and effects of this phenomenon and to take complementary measures to those that are underway 👉🏽 https://t.co/kGHWIF2Lko pic.twitter.com/0phqPEM6Tq
— Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (IACHR) (@RELE_CIDH) March 24, 2022
“Conflict with the press opaque rejection of violence”
In response to the pronouncements it has made about the murders of journalists in Mexico, the IACHR said that it received from the Mexican State that the current administration has allocated one thousand 200 million pesos to the current protection mechanism, and that it will seek to reform the legislation to create a National System of Prevention and Protection for human rights defenders and journalists.
However, the IACHR considers that at a “critical moment” for the guarantees of press freedom, the human and financial resources allocated have not been effective in preventing the murders of journalists, and the efforts on structural adjustments announced “are unfortunately temporarily outdated with respect to the urgency of the situation.”
In addition, he considered that “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 the complex and sustained struggle of the federal authorities over journalists and media.”
“The relevance that the authorities assign to their conflict with the press inevitably overshadows the messages of rejection of the violence they have issued, causing them to lose the forcefulness, conviction and clarity that they should have at this time,” he said.
The Office of the Rapporteur called on the Mexican authorities to recognize, from the highest levels of the State, the legitimacy and value of the work of journalists and to repudiate at all times the crimes perpetrated against them.
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“There is a fragility of the guarantees of freedom of expression in Mexico and reminds the State that those who hold positions of public leadership are called to maintain a favorable discourse of public deliberation and to refrain from making speeches that may, directly or indirectly, encourage or promote violence against communicators and journalists.”
“For the Office of the Rapporteur, the current institutional efforts are disjointed, sometimes contradictory, and together they are insufficient to contain the phenomenon of violence against the press that currently represents one of the main threats to freedom of expression in Mexico. In this sense, this Office calls on the State to urgently take complementary measures to those already announced, which can be activated in the short term and aimed at strengthening institutional deployment at the different levels of authority and competition,” he said.
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