MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Violence against the press in Mexico reached unprecedented levels during the first half of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration, up 85% from the first half of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration. its predecessor, according to a report on Tuesday.
The report comes as Mexico faces a string of journalist killings that have drawn criticism from local media and US lawmakers, while Lopez Obrador regularly uses his press conferences to single out journalists.
Lopez Obrador criticized the media an average of six times a month in 2021, according to human rights organization Article 19.
Last month, Lopez Obrador lashed out at EU lawmakers after they passed a resolution urging him to tone down rhetoric against journalists, calling the group a “sheep”.
In 2021 alone, one case of violence against the press was reported on average every 14 hours. Of those, two in five were linked to government officials, Article 19 found.
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“The continued violence against the press is the result of absent governments, current and past, which have been unable … to investigate crimes against freedom of expression,” the nonprofit organization said. .
“Rather, they directly attack the media with stigma, physical violence and harassment, among other slurs.”
The report said there were 1,945 such attacks on the media, including 25 murders, in the first three years and first month of Lopez Obrador’s six-year term. This compares to 1,053 attacks, including 15 murders, at the same time of predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto’s tenure.
The first three months of 2022 have been the deadliest for journalists, with eight deaths, since Article 19 began counting in 2000.
The president’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A journalist killed in January, Lourdes Maldonado, had asked Lopez Obrador for help at a press conference, saying she feared for her life as she was reportedly enrolled in the journalists protection program of the State.
Protection programs, which operate at the state and federal level in Mexico, are “politically weakened”, according to Article 19.
The non-governmental organization urged Lopez Obrador to “strengthen policies of prevention, protection and access to justice” for journalists.
(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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