Mexico

Aa

78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain

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Violence against journalists continued to be the norm during this period. Eleven journalists were murdered and, in all cases, the crimes occurred in the interior of the country - where organized crime is entrenched. However, political links have not been ruled out in any of the murders.

The constant in the face of this violence continues to be impunity. None of the cases have been solved and, even when investigations are supposed to be open, no authority has confirmed the arrest of the intellectual or material authors of these crimes.

The automatic reaction of the national government is to lament the death of the reporters, to promise serious investigations and to accuse the media of using these cases for "yellow journalism" and to denigrate the government with exaggerations. In the face of high crime rates, the government fueled the debate by proposing that the National Guard depend on the Army and not on civilian entities.

Since taking office in December 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not stopped accusing journalists of being part of a corporate conspiracy to affect his government. He argues that the journalistic attacks are due to the fact that the media and journalists have lost advertising privileges and perks.

In his Wednesday morning conference, the President keeps his "Who's Who in Lies" section - in which he refutes critical media by counter-arguing falsehoods, partial data or making denials without offering proof.

Pressured by the number of murdered journalists, the President said that in 15 days he would present a report on the investigations - which he did not comply with or did so partially due to the lack of progress.

Article 19 published a report on the first semester of the year in which it documented 331 aggressions against the press and highlighted that the State continues to be - for the last 15 years - the main aggressor against journalism.

During the current government, spending on social communication to announce actions and policies has been reduced year after year. There is a discretional and opaque practice for the allocation of official advertising.

On September 8, 2021, the Supreme Court determined that Congress should correct the omissions detected in the General Law of Social Communication, because it allowed discretionary spending on government advertising. It also stated that transparent and clear criteria should be established regarding its granting.

The House of Representatives - controlled by the ruling Morena party - had a judicial extension to correct the law until April 30 of this year. It argued that the extension was until October of this year, but still did not make corrections.

Murders of journalists:

On August 22 Fredid Román - director and owner of the newspaper La Realidad, a Chilpancingo, Guerrero media outlet - was murdered while riding in his vehicle. He was director of the newspapers Palabra and Expresión Popular, until he finally decided to found his own printed newspaper. On the day of his murder, witnesses indicated that Román had just left a workshop in the area and that the killer was already waiting for him. Hours earlier, the journalist published his last column, "State Crime without blaming the boss" - in which he denounced a lukewarm investigation by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the Ayotzinapa case - and later he broadcast a live video of an event by Governor Evelyn Salgado. The Guerrero Attorney General's Office indicated that they are investigating the possible link of the journalist's crime to the murder of his son on July 1.

On August 16, Juan Arjón López - a 62-year-old journalist - remained missing for a week, until his body was discovered on August 16 in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, near the border with Baja California. He had run the portal "A qué le temes" (What are you afraid of) since 2020, where he published police and community news. He died of traumatic brain injury - according to the autopsy.

On August 11, four workers of Mega Radio Networks were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The team of the radio program Switch 105.9 FM, composed of Allan González, announcer; Lino Flores, from the Promotions area; Armando Guerrero, Operations Manager, and Alex Arriaga, bodyguard, was broadcasting live from the parking lot of a pizzeria, when several gunmen got out of a pickup truck and shot at the customers and at them when they saw the radio station's pickup truck. That day, members of organized crime perpetrated violent attacks against civilians and businesses in the city.

On August 3, Ernesto Méndez was murdered. An armed group burst into a bar in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, shooting six people. Four were killed, among them the journalist who was celebrating with family and friends having obtained one of the concessions granted for the Feria del Noroeste - an event organized by him and other businessmen, according to versions of Zona Franca. The authorities opened four lines of investigation in the murder - one of them related to his work as a journalist. Extortion of his family business would have been the cause of the journalist's murder - according to a statement made on August 11 by Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, federal undersecretary of Security and Citizen Protection. Roberto, alias "El Borrachito," 22, was indicted as the alleged killer.

On June 29, Antonio de la Cruz - a reporter for the newspaper Expreso - was murdered in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, when he was driving his van with his daughter. One of the bullets went through his body and into his daughter's head - who died at a hospital. Before his murder, the journalist had published about a gang dedicated to the theft of debit cards, the non-assignment of 600 positions for health workers and the overpriced purchase of medical supplies for the Covid-19 pandemic - through millionaire contracts with fake companies.

On May 9, Yesenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana García were murdered in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz - director of the newspaper Veraz and reporter, respectively. Mollinedo had told her mother that she was afraid because of threats by telephone in which the callers talked about her work routes. On the day of the crime they went to cover the seizure of weapons in Minatitlán and the arrest of three people. After their work they were intercepted by two men who shot them 16 times before fleeing on motorcycles. Yesenia died instantly; Johana, on the way to the hospital. Shortly after a week of the murders, the Veracruz Prosecutor's Office acknowledged that it had mistakenly arrested a student from Xalapa instead of the alleged murderer.

Luis Enrique Ramirez - founding director of the news site Fuentes Fidedignas and main columnist for the newspaper El Debate - was murdered in Sinaloa on May 5. The journalist's body was left south of the Antorchista neighborhood in Culiacán. The autopsy revealed the journalist died from traumatic brain injury. On May 27, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador assured that the case was "practically solved." A week and a half later, on June 6, the Sinaloa Prosecutor's Office ruled out that the motive for Ramirez's crime was related to his professional activity. However, on July 21, the Undersecretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, said that Brysia Carolina "F" - accused of concealment by aiding and abetting - was arrested and charged. On August 9, the woman was granted a legal benefit to be able to continue the process while out of prison.

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