Miami (May 3, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has denounced comments by Mexican government officials against the work of Diario de Yucatán. The organization also warned of the dangers posed by the dismissive attitude toward the press prevalent among the region's authorities, politicians, and public figures.
Since late April, there have been several incidents in which officials have attempted to discredit the work of Diario de Yucatán. The attacks followed the publication of a report by journalist Joaquín Chan on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's health problems during a visit to the city of Mérida, in the state of Yucatán.
On April 23, Mexico's Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López Hernández, questioned the professionalism and integrity of the newspaper. The following day, the Director of the Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State, Jenaro Villamil, continued the accusations, stating that Diario de Yucatán replaced the "information vacuum" with unverified speculation about the president's health. Villamil made his statement even though the president confirmed that he had fainted during the trip.
IAPA President Michael Greenspon rejected "the disparaging attacks against the newspaper for reporting on a matter of public interest such as the president's health." Greenspon, Global Head, Licensing and Print Innovation at The New York Times, expressed his "support and appreciation for the newspaper," which will celebrate its 98th anniversary on May 31.
Carlos Jornet, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, reiterated the organization's support for Diario de Yucatán and warned that "denigrating the work of the press and those who investigate the powerful can have negative consequences and encourage intolerance."
Greenspon and Jornet stressed that, as stated in the conclusions of the IAPA's recent semi-annual meeting, "the stigmatization and public degradation of the press are also widespread among presidents and high-ranking officials" in the Americas. In Mexico, especially, hostile attitudes toward journalists and the media are common among officeholders.
The IAPA approved a resolution that lists the countries where cases of stigmatization have occurred in recent months and urges "the governments of the Americas to ensure that public debate is conducted with respect, tolerance, and within the freedom of expression principles."
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida.