79th IAPA General Assembly, November 9 - 12, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico


Violence continued to be the primary threat against journalists. Three were murdered in this period.

On May 23rd, Aurelio Ramírez Hernández was killed in the city of Tehuacán, in the central Mexican State of Puebla. The 69-year-old journalist and former municipal official was shot by unknown assailants while traveling in his car after leaving his home. A week later, there were arrests, but there is no information on the judicial follow-up of the case and the motives for the murder. Ramírez Hernández worked as a correspondent for various networks, specializing in police topics, and published in his outlet, Cuarto Poder.

On July 7th, the body of journalist Luis Martín Sánchez Iñiguez was found in El Ahuacate, Tepic, Nayarit, with signs of violence. He was a correspondent for the newspaper La Jornada. The organization Article 19 reported that a computer, a cell phone, a hard drive, and a media credential were missing from his home.

That week, local communicators Osiris Maldonado de la Paz and Jonathan Lora Ramírez were also kidnapped but were later found alive. There are no arrests, and the motives are unknown.

On July 15th, Nelson Matus Peña, the director, founder, and head of the crime section for the media outlet Lo Real de Guerrero, one of the most visited portals in the State, was murdered. He had a distinguished career of over 15 years covering police news. He worked for media outlets such as Alarma and Ágora Guerrero. In August 2019, Matus had survived an attack in the Postal colony of Acapulco but was unharmed.

A group of journalists and photographers symbolically shut down the Guerrero government's representation in Mexico City to demand clarity and justice for the murder of Matus. The journalists expressed that violence against the profession is not only seen in the murders of Matus and Sánchez but also in "enforced disappearances, increasing attacks by public officials, among other threats, displacements, and arbitrary acts that add up to a precarious context of death. There is fear and desolation."

On September 25th, journalist Jesús Gutiérrez, from San Luis Río Colorado, was murdered. Gutiérrez was considered "collateral damage," not a direct victim of attacks against journalists. He was caught in an attack against four police officers with whom he was conversing near his home.

Other significant events:

During this period, the disappearance on July 6th of photojournalist Juan Carlos Hinojosa Viveros in the municipality of Nanchital, in the southern State of Veracruz, was also documented. He is the editor and partner of La de 8 News. His whereabouts remain unknown. The Coatzacoalcos Journalists Association AC confirmed the disappearance and demanded information on his location.

On October 16th, the arrest of the alleged intellectual author behind the assassination attempt on journalist Ciro Gómez Leyva was made public. The federal Prosecutor's Office announced that U.S. agents captured Armando Escárcega, alias El Patrón, in California. In February, Gómez Leyva suggested that El Patrón and his accomplices might have some link to the Jalisco Cartel. In mid-January, authorities detained 16 people connected to the attack at various locations in the State of Mexico and Michoacán, including the gunman who allegedly fired at Gómez Leyva.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues his hostile discourse against the media. He continues accusing journalists of being part of a business conspiracy to harm his government and being angry about losing advertising privileges and perks. In his Wednesday morning conference, he maintains his section "Who is who in the lies," where he counters media criticism, arguing they report falsehoods, partial information, or debunk them without providing evidence.

In August, Article 19 denounced in its 2022 report that official advertising continues to be discretionary and inequitable, accusing the government of concentrating on a few media outlets and of not having clear, objective, and transparent criteria for allocating resources. In 2022, the government of López Obrador gave 3.182 billion pesos to official advertising, the year that the least amount of resources was spent.

López Obrador announced in April that he would close the Mexican state news agency, Notimex, which has not been operational since 2020, following a workers' strike. "We no longer need a government news agency," he said. He added that it is sufficient for the State to report through the presidential morning conference, ignoring that Notimex is a state agency and not an arm of the current government.