Mexico faces the task of ending the plague of murders of journalists

 Mexico celebrates today the Day of the Journalist with the challenge to end the plague of the violence against the professionals of the communication at the time that defends the freedom of expression and of information.

During the past presidential term of President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) there were 47 murders of journalists in Mexico, of which 9 were in 2018 out of a total of 2,347 attacks against the media.

“The new government has not yet delineated the guidelines under which it will act and of course we are concerned that within a month of starting the administration we still do not have things clear,” explained Leopoldo Maldonado, deputy director of Article 19, an international organization that defends freedom of expression and the right to information.

Although during the past year there were officially 9 murders of press workers, Maldonado said that “the number of murdered journalists is obviously greater”.

However, certainty requires only to report 9 cases in which “the relationship between death and journalism has been corroborated in a minimal way”, something that in other cases is only a painful intuition.

“In the absence of an exhaustive investigation into many of the murders and disappearances, we can not establish whether his journalistic investigation was the cause of the crimes,” he added.

This poses a scenario in which the government led by the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has to take the reins of “a situation that is very uphill”.

However, “they can not avoid this responsibility that they have assumed as a new government in the face of the crisis of violence that the press is experiencing,” said the lawyer in law from the Universidad Iberoamericana.

Last October was one of the last times that López Obrador manifested himself against the cruelties with which many communicators have to live.

At a press conference held in Guerrero, he noted that journalists in this state are “like heroes because they practice journalism in very difficult conditions, at high risk”.

“That’s why they deserve our respect,” he concluded after a brief “let’s take care of citizens and journalists,” a phrase that makes clear his intentions but still does not clarify how to carry them out.

On December 13, a similar situation was repeated when seven journalists from the state of Oaxaca reported receiving threats through Facebook.

However, reversing the situation is not easy, violence to communicators is something that has existed for decades in the country but has been counted since the so-called war against drug trafficking began at the beginning of the millennium.

It was then when they began to have more solid data on the problem although it is impossible according to Maldonado have a real comparison with what happened in the 80s and 90s, where there was no serious record.

According to Article 19, drug trafficking also seems to be the common link that unites the bodies of all those journalists killed in a kind of battle in search of the truth.
But not always organized crime is the reason, because, according to Maldonado, in recent years it is perceived that “the link of public officials with crimes has increased.”

“Practically this motive has been paired with drug trafficking,” said the lawyer, adding later that “given the circumstances, it is very difficult to elucidate when exactly organized crime is and when exactly it is an official”.

Beyond the reasons, the problem seems to continue despite the fact that in 2018 3 journalists died less than in 2017, the most lethal year, with practically one journalist sacrificed every month.

Unfortunately, this attack on one of the essential foundations of freedom of expression continues to sew little by little the culture of “a country where there is no end of moving towards a true democracy.” (EFEUSA) .-


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