16 February 2024

Tough week for the press: "Zone of Silence" in Mexico and 5 reporters injured in Haiti

Miami (February 16, 2024) - Armed men shot at the van of journalist Andrés Salas, director of the Mexican portal Noticias de Cuautla, Morelos state. Inside the vehicle were his driver, who died, and his brother, who was seriously wounded.

During an interview with El Sol de Cuautla, Salas said he will leave his job as a journalist to "save his life". The Ministry of the Interior (Segob) confirmed that Salas was incorporated into the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and was relocated outside Cuautla.

As a result of the attack, three other reporters decided to suspend coverage in the area for security reasons. As reported by El Universal, this makes Cuautla the first officially declared news-free zone in Mexico.

On the other hand, in the city of Veracruz, three journalists were beaten by the police while covering a demonstration. They were also detained for more than three hours and, in addition to the beatings, they reported having suffered material damage.

The Inter American Press Association condemned the attacks suffered by Haitian journalists while reporting on anti-government protests. According to information gathered by Javier Valdivia, regional vice-president for Haiti of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, five journalists were targeted and one of them lost an eye.

In Colombia, three journalists were threatened through social networks after reporting on influencer Westcol, who was branded an "animal abuser" for having published a photo of a chicken tied by the neck. "We urge the Attorney General's Office to take urgent measures to protect journalists and guarantee a safe environment for the practice of journalism," commented the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP).

In Guatemala, the Association of Journalists of Guatemala (APG) reported that around 25 journalists are in exile due to censorship, aggressions or persecution.

In Argentina, President Javier Milei once again lashed out against the press.The president retweeted a post about journalist Jorge "Petete" Martínez, in which he is described as "a defender of Cordoba's Peronism" and showed figures of official advertising in the media where he works. The Association of Argentine Journalistic Entities (ADEPA) regretted "the use of the presidential social networks for the reproduction of grievances against journalists".

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, United States.