In the first three years of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government, there were at least 767 attacks against women journalists, 209% more than the first triennium of Enrique Peña Nieto, which registered 248 violent acts.
This is what the report “Unpunished Words: Stigmatization and Violence against Women Journalists in Mexico 2019-2022” warns, released by the organization Communication and Information of Women (CIMAC), which highlights that in this same period, five women journalists have been murdered: Norma Sarabia Garduza, María Elena Ferral Hernández, Lourdes Maldonado López, Sheila Johana García Olivera and Yessenia Aurora Mollinedo Falconi.
After an increase of more than 500 aggressions in three years, the report questions omissions and indifference on the part of the State “to incidents such as acts of harassment or intimidation can lead to these aggressions escalating to become victims of femicide.”
Faced with an increase of more than 500 aggressions in three years, the report questions omissions and indifference on the part of the State
Although in 2021, CIMAC points to a decrease in documented cases, it explained that the contexts and patterns that mark the social relations that determine the causes of aggressions were analyzed, as well as the difficulties in terms of attention and protection faced by journalists after suffering an attack.
“The decrease indicated is not the result of improvements in the defense of journalists, but of factors such as revictimization by the authorities, which cause cases not to be reported. The discontinuous upswings observed are due, among other causes, to policies implemented by the State, such as the progressive militarization of the country, the increase of criminal groups in the communities, the socio-political violence that has broken the social fabric and the systematic practices of human rights violations, as well as the inaction of state and municipal authorities. the limitations and lack of training of police structures, the weakening of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, and the silencing strategies adopted by the federal government, such as the use of discourse to stigmatize the work of journalists, which is replicated at the state level, municipal and social”, details the document.
In addition, the report mentions that although attacks on the press have been present in administrations prior to López Obrador’s, they pointed out “the use of a podium such as morning conferences to disseminate day by day a discourse that stigmatizes journalists without any filter, opens the door to a permissiveness that, When it spreads and permeates other groups, it can transcend insults and threats and reach lethal aggressions.”
The document argues that documenting attacks against journalists becomes a “survival strategy” in the face of the need to make visible and name violence immediately to prevent future aggression or to reduce the risk of it occurring.
In addition, he explains that some circumstances and factors explain the number of attacks that occur in each month of the year, for example, he highlights that the spikes in March, September and November respond to situations of social mobilization.
“Its coverage leads to attacks on journalists due to the repression of police elements against activists and collectives that demand to guarantee the human rights of women through the decriminalization of abortion, improvements in working conditions, access to health and the eradication of violence,” she says.
He also considers a rebound in June and July due to the electoral contexts, in which there is an atmosphere of confrontation due to the dispute of administrative positions.
From the beginning of López Obrador’s administration, until July 2022, CIMAC said it had documented aggressions in 30 of the 32 states of the country (with the exception of Zacatecas and Campeche), while the entities with the highest number of aggressions were Mexico City, with 199 cases; Puebla, with 72; Coahuila, with 54; Guerrero, with 42, and the State of Mexico with 40, followed by Veracruz, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Morelos.
The document argues that documenting attacks against journalists becomes a “survival strategy” in the face of the need to make visible and name the violence
AMLO’s stigmatization against feminists
The CIMAC report attributes the increase in risks to women journalists also to López Obrador’s “stigmatizing discourse against feminist protests,” considering that journalists are violated by being surrounded by various actors influenced by the presidential discourse, which It generates prejudice towards the press, and a hostile environment provoked by political parties.
The report also points to public officials as the main aggressors of journalists, with 320 attacks against communicators perpetrated by federal, state and municipal officials, representing 41.72% of cases.
“The worrying increase in femicides in Mexico has been dismissed by López Obrador by stating that cases have not increased, but that in his government, unlike what happened in previous six-year terms, the crime is typified. This means making invisible that, year after year, complaints of domestic violence have grown, since in 2019 210,188 cases were registered, in 2021 there were 253,736, and until July 2022 there were 158,924 cases;48 is to deny that in 2019 53,43049 crimes against freedom and sexual security were committed, and that at the end of July 2022 48,77050 cases were counted;51 is ignoring that until April of this year there were more than 24,600 Missing Women,” the report states about the president’s constant response to questions about femicidal violence.
The document argues that López Obrador’s accusations to feminist movements have negative effects that encourage discrimination against women, since it sows uncertainty, distrust, collective insecurity and fear in society.
“The president and his statements are the reflection of a macho and patriarchal society that is more outraged by the appearance of a historical monument than the disappearance of a woman or the murder of a girl,” he says.
The report questions that the president uses the morning conferences to “impose his discourse and exclude that of other groups, both journalists and civil organizations, women and the LGBTI community,” in addition to insisting that the attacks on journalists are a consequence of the crisis of violence inherited by other presidents, such as Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and Enrique Peña Nieto.
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