01 December 2023

IAPA Bot: Serial Violence Against Journalists

Five were injured and three kidnapped in a week of unprecedented attacks on journalists in Mexico.

Miami (December 1, 2023) - Serial attacks against journalists this week have added a reddish hue to Mexico on the heat map of the SIP Bot, a digital monitoring tool for press freedom in the Americas.

On Tuesday, four Mexican journalists, Jesús Antonio de la Cruz, Víctor Mateo Francisco, Héctor Camacho, and Óscar Guerrero, suffered an armed attack in the state of Guerrero while covering a murder. Despite being wounded, there were no fatalities.

That same day, in Michoacán, journalist Maynor Ramón Ramírez of ABC de Michoacán and a companion were shot and wounded by unidentified individuals.

Days earlier, also in Guerrero, reporters Silvia Nayssa Arce, Alberto Sánchez, and Marco Antonio Toledo were released after being kidnapped by a criminal gang. The wife and son of Toledo, director of the weekly Espectador de Taxco, were also seized.

According to the Chapultepec Index of Press Freedom, Mexico, the host country of the last IAPA General Assembly, is in the "restricted" range.

In Colombia, a group of demonstrators threw a "potato bomb" at the car of the Noticentro 1 CM& journalistic team. The journalists were covering the march in commemoration of the death of Dilan Cruz, a student killed by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad in 2019.

The Network of Free Journalists of Ecuador condemned through its X account the "verbal attacks and stigmatizing discourse" of former Minister of Government María Paula Romo against the digital newspaper La Posta. The political leader branded the digital media as "public relations of the mafias" and "macho troglodytes."

On the other hand, the National Association of Journalists of Bolivia (ANPB) made a public complaint in which it pointed out that the National Service of Protected Areas (Sernap) does not allow its employees to broadcast information on forest fires.

In Venezuela, the radio station Class 98.7, which has been on the air for over 30 years, was taken off the stand on November 24. The National Union of Press Workers of Venezuela condemned the termination of the concession.

In Nicaragua, the well-known tiktoker Geovany López Acevedo was arrested by Daniel Ortega's police after having criticized journalists of pro-government media.

The outlook for the press in the Americas may look bleak, but there is also good news. After a long debate, Google agreed with the Canadian government and will pay the Canadian media industry $74 million a year.

IAPA Bot is an artificial intelligence tool of the Inter American Press Association that monitors press freedom violations in real time. It tracks information published in the media, Google News, Twitter, and from a selection of IAPA notes and denunciations. In addition, it contains a heat map that allows observing the press freedom climate in each country, a button to make complaints, and a menu that highlights the statements of government leaders, citizens' conversations, and relevant events.

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 in the Western Hemisphere, based in Miami, Florida, United States.