In this semester, six journalists have been murdered in Sinaloa, Oaxaca, Coahuila, Sonora, Michoacán and Veracruz. This has been compounded by increasingly crude threats from organized crime, especially one that generated reactions from the press - made via Twitter by a cartel.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador does not cease in his criticism and discrediting of the press. On June 30, he inaugurated a segment in his morning show entitled: "Who is who in the news" - which, rather than clarifying what he considers to be fake news, he uses to criticize the media and journalists who - according to him – are retaliating for having lost their advertising privileges, and respond to the interests of rich businessmen who do not want his social policy.
The new segment serves - according to him - to refute the lies of the week. He adamantly attacks some media, including Reforma and El Universal - which he refers to as "enemies of the government."
In this environment, on August 30, a new initiative of various journalistic companies was born - called Alianza de Medios Mx. Its objective is to defend freedom of expression and combat the impunity that surrounds crimes against journalists and the media. It has managed to create a database with documented cases since the mid-1980s - including more than 200 murders. The new organization is made up of Publimetro, El Universal, Proceso, Radio y Televisión Mexicanas, Eje Central, El Heraldo de México, Organización Editorial Mexicana, La Silla Rota, Político Mx, El Dictamen, Vanguardia, El Economista, Debate and Imagen Noticias and the Chamber of the Radio and Television Industry.
On May 3, the body of Benjamín Morales Hernández, 50 - founder and director of the online news site Noticias Xonoidag - was found. His remains were found on the side of a road between Caborca and Sonoyta, two municipalities in the state of Sonora, near the U.S. border.
On June 17, Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was shot and killed in the municipality of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. He was director of the digital media Noticias Minuto a Minuto, and had survived a shooting in July 2020. He had reported receiving death threats because of his work.
On June 22, Saúl Tijerina Rentería was murdered in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila. He was a reporter for two Facebook news pages: Noticias en la Web and La Voz de Coahuila, a drone operator for the Policíaca Acuña website, and worked in a textile factory.
On July 19, Abraham Mendoza was murdered in Morelia, Michoacán. He hosted the news program Observatorio - on Uve Radio, the Vasco de Quiroga University radio station. He was also a radio broadcaster for station EXA Morelia, and host of the VocesRadio news magazine.
On July 22, Ricardo López Domínguez was murdered in a parking lot where he was meeting someone to collect an advertising payment. He had been the victim of multiple digital aggressions and was relocated for security reasons after denouncing a smear campaign against him.
On November 4, 2020, the journalist - while working at InfoGuaymas - denounced in a video the municipal police of Guaymas for creating false accounts to attack and discredit the media - and held the director of Public Security of Guaymas responsible for what could happen to him.
On August 19, Jacinto Romero Flores was murdered. He was shot several times while driving on Reforma Boulevard in Ixtaczoquitlán, Veracruz. He was a broadcaster for Ori Stereo and the program Radio Ixtac Online. He had been threatened.
On August 9, there was a blatant threat from organized crime against journalists from Televisa, Milenio and El Universal. In a video, a criminal group criticized their coverage of the conflicts in the state of Michoacán.
"Don't lean to one side, don't take on problems that don't concern you, because I've never attacked any news program," threatened an alleged representative of Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho."
The representative of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation accused Milenio TV host Azucena Uresti of using the "TV station and newscast to launder money" and threatened her saying "if you keep on hitting me, I assure you that wherever you are I will find you and I will make you eat your words, even if they accuse me of femicide, because they don't know me."
The threats brought together several media outlets to condemn the actions, through a statement signed by Televisa and El Universal - but also by Proceso, TV Azteca, the Inter-American Press Association, Grupo Imagen, El Heraldo de México, La Silla Rota, Publimetro, Animal Político, Organización Editorial Mexicana, Debate, WAN/IFRA, Eje Central, SEMMéxico, El Economista, Grupo Milenio, Vanguardia MX and Político MX. "The groups that made this threat know that they can do so because of the impunity enjoyed by those who for decades have intimidated journalists and the media," read the statement.
In September, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (Feadle), initiated an investigation against Daniel Blancas Madrigal - reporter of the newspaper La Crónica - after a disagreement with journalists or youtubers stalwart of President López Obrador.
On October 5, the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) acknowledged that during the current presidency, the number of people who have joined the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists grew by 88% - evidencing an increase in violence in the country.
54% of the journalists protected are from Mexico City, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Quintana Roo, Sonora and Veracruz. Segob acknowledged that between December 2018 and September 2021 there have been 47 homicides of journalists and that there is a 99% impunity rate. There were rulings in only five cases.
Regarding official advertising, Article 19 reported that 52% of government advertising spending is concentrated in 10 of 457 media outlets. The media that received the most are Televisa and TV Azteca networks, and the newspaper La Jornada.
On September 8, the Supreme Court ruled that the Congress of the Union must correct the omissions in the General Law of Social Communication, which allow discretional spending on government advertising - in order to establish transparent and clear criteria for its allocation.