Bad news again from Mexico, this time from the northern border state of Chihuahua.
Earlier this week journalist Miroslava Breach, who worked for various media outlets, including the national newspaper La Jornada and the local website Norte, was reported as murdered outside her home by an unidentified individual.
The violent act, according to reports from national newspapers El Universal and Excélsior, took place during the morning. As far as is known, a male subject approached Miroslava and shot her with a firearm eight times in the head.
In his column for the newspaper Milenio, Ricardo Aleman wrote:
Miroslava Breach fue asesinada por ejercer su profesión, el periodismo de investigación, crítico e independiente. (…) Dicho de otro modo, mataron a Miroslava por hablar, por hacer pública la información que reclama la sociedad y molesta al poder, en cualquiera de sus formas.
Miroslava Breach was assassinated for exercising her profession as an independent and critical investigative journalist. (…) In other words, they killed Miroslava for talking, for taking information public that society demanded and that annoyed those in power, in all its forms.
The murder of Miroslava follows those of two other journalists this month, as Spanish newspaper El País reported:
El asesinato se ha producido cuatro días después del ataque contra Ricardo Monlui, otro periodista que murió a tiros en el Estado de Veracruz el pasado 19 de marzo. Cecilio Pineda, un periodista del sureño Estado de Guerrero, fue ejecutado el pasado 2 de marzo. Suman ya 30 periodistas asesinados durante el mandato de Enrique Peña Nieto, ha informado la organización Artículo 19.
The murder occurred four days after the attack against Ricardo Monlui, another journalist who was shot dead in the state of Veracruz on March 19. Cecilio Pineda, a journalist from the southern state of Guerrero, was executed on March 2. Some 30 journalists have been killed during Enrique Peña Nieto's term, according to the organization Article 19.
On Twitter, Article 19 shared the following message:
Hoy asesinaron a periodista Miroslava Breach. El 99.75% de los casos sigue impune. Si no hay justicia la violencia continuará #ImpunidadMata pic.twitter.com/BQcBspAvWK
— ARTICLE 19 MX-CA (@article19mex) March 24, 2017
The journalist Miroslava Breach was assassinated today. 99.75% of cases remain unpunished. If there is no justice, violence will continue #ImpunityKills
Epifanio Diaz also condemned the reporter's murder:
Condenamos enérgicamente el asesinato de la periodista #Miroslava #Breach. Exigimos un alto a la ola de asesinatos y violencia.
— Abogado triqui (@EpifanioDiaz) March 24, 2017
We strongly condemn the murder of journalist #Miroslava #Breach. We demand a halt to the wave of murders and violence.
Me dan ganas d llorar, cuando veo lo q pasa en mi Mexico y no poder hacer el cambio(encarcelar a corruptos y delincuentes socios)#Miroslava
— SBorbon (@sborbon) March 24, 2017
I want to cry when I see what happens in my Mexico and cannot make a change (jail corrupt and delinquent members) #Miroslava
Mexico is Latin America's most dangerous country for journalists and the third most dangerous country in the world in general, with levels of violence comparable to Syria and Iraq, according to the Global Criminality Index 2016.
An incredible 95% of crimes in Mexico go unpunished, according to the most recent figures of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.
President Enrique Peña has spoken seemingly in favour of a free press in the past.
In October 2016, for instance, he said:
Una nación democrática como lo es México, no puede explicarse sin medios de comunicación que ejerzan a plenitud esa libertad (de expresión). Por eso el gobierno de la República defiende la pluralidad de ideas como una conquista democrática y un derecho irrenunciable de los mexicanos.
A democratic nation like Mexico cannot explain itself without methods of communication that fully exercise that freedom (of expression). That is why the government of the Republic defends the plurality of ideas as a democratic conquest and an inalienable right of Mexicans.
But these are only words and impunity for perpetrators of violent crime against media workers and as a whole has long been a fact of life in Mexico. Currently, these frustrations are being aired on social media under the hashtags #ImpunidadMata and #YaBastaDeBalas (#ImpunityKills, #EnoughBulletsAlready).
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, said that if he had to choose between a government of the people or the freedom of having newspapers and reporters to produce the news that they obtain, he would choose “reporters and newspap
ers”. That IS how important it is to have freedom of the press. What a “disaster” when a country is not secure in this respect.