In less than three months in Mexico, eight local journalists have been murdered and multiple aggressions against communicators have been documented. National and international organizations have spoken out about this crisis of violence and journalists have denounced the Mexican government's downplaying of the murders.
Ocho periodistas asesinados en menos de dos meses (16 de enero al 15 de marzo). Cuatro por mes, uno por semana. Esas son las cifras, pero estos son los rostros. Cada uno, parte de una familia; era un padre, una madre, un hermano, una hermana… y no hay más: el Estado les falló. pic.twitter.com/OeoRrjuCrG
— Ignacio Gómez Villaseñor (@ivillasenor) March 16, 2022
Eight journalists murdered in less than two months (January 16 to March 15). Four per month, one per week. Those are the numbers, but these are the faces. Each one was part of a family; they were a father, a mother, a brother, a sister… and that's what it is: the State failed them.
Journalists from various Mexican states have expressed their fear and condemned the threats to freedom of expression in their country. Many of them have raised their voices for their colleagues who are no longer here and for their right to exercise their work without being the target of death threats and other aggressions. Meanwhile, journalists denounce that incumbent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issues statements that do not help media workers.
Este declaración es preocupante, indignante y criminal; @lopezobrador_ minimiza los #AsesinatosDePeriodistas en #México, con un discurso mediocremente triunfalista, expone que en 2 meses y medio “han perdido la vida cerca de 5 mil mexicanos… y de esos 5 mil, 5 periodistas”. pic.twitter.com/jLOjob14mL
— Fernelly Campos (@FernellyCampos) March 11, 2022
This statement is worrying, outrageous and criminal; @lopezobrador_ minimizes the #MurdersOfJournalists in #Mexico, with a mediocrely triumphalist speech, he exposes that in 2 and a half months “nearly 5 thousand Mexicans have lost their lives… and of those 5 thousand, 5 journalists”.
Hoy hubo 3 momentos de protestas de periodistas en eventos públicos por los riesgos de la prensa. En el Congreso de Morelos por el asesinato de Linares, en el foro sobre el mecanismo de protección de Segob en Tepic y en el foro de Libertad de Expresión en DF ante Encinas. pic.twitter.com/tOqucBaySf
— marcelaturati (@marcelaturati) March 17, 2022
Today there were 3 protests by journalists at public events due to the risks to the press. At the Morelos Congress for the murder of Linares, at the forum on the government's protection mechanism in Tepic and at the Freedom of Expression forum in Mexico City before [the politician, Alejandro] Encinas.
Ya está listo el pronunciamiento de los periodistas en Michoacán que estamos, más que asustados, indignados por el asesinato de Armando Linares. ¿Qué? ¿nos van a matar a todos?.
— Dalia M. Martínez (@daliammd) March 16, 2022
The statement of the journalists in Michoacán who are, more than scared, outraged by the murder of Armando Linares, is ready. What, are they going to kill us all?
Patricia Monreal habla en el congreso en Morelia, Michoacán por el asesinato Armando Linares, el octavo periodista asesinado en lo que va del año en México. Video: Ni uno más Michoacán #NiunoMás #PeriodismoenRiesgo #NiSilencioNiOlvido pic.twitter.com/9pHnTbl5DP
— #FotoRreporterosMx (@FotoReporMx) March 16, 2022
Patricia Monreal speaks in congress in Morelia, Michoacán about the murder of Armando Linares, the eighth journalist murdered so far this year in Mexico. Video: Ni uno más Michoacán #NotOneMore #JournalismatRisk #NotStayingSilentNorForgotten.
On March 15, 2022, the journalist and director of the digital media Monitor Michoacán, Armando Linares, was shot and killed, just a month and a half after having denounced the attack against his colleague Roberto Toledo, who was also killed in January of the same year. Both were investigating politics and corruption in their communities.
Armando Linares, director del Monitor de Zitácuaro, Mich., informó el 31 de enero pasado que acaban de asesinar a su compañero Roberto Toledo y que él también tenía amenazas.
Hoy fue asesinado. Nadie lo protegió pic.twitter.com/S4mEX20hen
— Fábrica de Periodismo (@LaFabricaMX_) March 16, 2022
Armando Linares, director of the Monitor of Zitácuaro, Mich., reported on January 31 that his colleague Roberto Toledo had just been murdered and that he had also received threats.
Today he was murdered. Nobody protected him
A day after Linares’ murder, the organization ARTICLE 19 and the Norwegian Embassy organized the Foro Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Expression Forum), where Mexican journalist Marcela Turati explained that reporters find themselves in the midst of a crossfire fueled by precarious working conditions, political or economic interests, and organized crime. Turati also denounced that there are areas in the country where journalists are silenced by means of torture.
In the same forum, a government representative admitted the participation of state agents, mainly municipal police, in the attacks on journalists. However, the president has taken it upon himself to point out that public officials are not involved in the crimes.
— Revista El Chamuco (@El_Chamuco) March 16, 2022
#MorningTalk|| “There are no elements in any of these murders that point to public officials as responsible”: AMLO on murders of journalists.
Through daily nationwide conferences, President López Obrador has issued several unfavorable messages for journalistic work. In a recent speech, he downplayed the number of murdered journalists by mentioning that the figure is lower than the number of homicides in general. This statement was criticized on social media.
Las comparaciones son muy malas, pero también es muy malo no entender una simple proporción.
Según Inegi hay 45,000 periodistas en México. Con 5 asesinatos en lo que va del 2022, su tasa de homicidios es TRES veces mayor a la de un mexicano promedio. https://t.co/5mcCBqHGWr
— Rafael Prieto Curiel (@rafaelprietoc) March 11, 2022
Comparisons are very bad, but it is also very bad not to understand a simple ratio.
According to Inegi there are 45,000 journalists in Mexico. With 5 murders so far in 2022, their murder rate is THREE times that of an average Mexican.
Although attacks against the press go back for decades, no government has provided a real solution. According to the newspaper El País, “figures reveal that violence against the press has increased during the current government, with 31 homicides of journalists since the end of 2018.”
According to Turati, the government messages against the press are a message of hatred against journalistic work. “Colleagues are very afraid, they no longer want to carry out investigations, the stigma and threats are strong, while others continue,” she said during her participation in the aforementioned forum. “To kill a journalist is to silence the cause they were researching,” she added.
In light of the alarming number of attacks against journalists in the country, the European Union urged Mexico to create a favorable environment for journalists to freely exercise their profession. Yet, international critical opinions are not well seen nor received by the current government.
— Unión Europea en México 🇪🇺🇲🇽 (@UEenMexico) March 18, 2022
Local statement by the European Union, Norway and Switzerland on the murder of journalist Armando Linares López
Reporters Without Borders has been sounding the alarm since January 2022, urging Mexican authorities to strengthen protection mechanisms and put an end to the chronic impunity that affects crimes against the profession. However, although Mexico has a Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists (Mecanismo de Protección de Periodistas), its multiple limitations have been highlighted by its users, rendering it a useless system.
Since 2000, ARTICLE 19 has documented a total of 152 journalists murdered in Mexico in connection with their journalistic work. In many of these cases, the Protection Mechanism did not prevent these crimes from being committed.
¿Quiénes matan periodistas, por qué y para qué? Toca esclarecerlo a las fiscalías que deberían investigar los intereses que afectaron sus denuncias periodísticas. No ir sólo por quienes activaron las armas, como es costumbre; encontrar quiénes ordenaron los asesinatos y sancionar
— marcelaturati (@marcelaturati) March 16, 2022
Who kills journalists, why and what for? It is up to the prosecutors’ offices to clarify it, as they should investigate the interests that were affected by their journalistic reports. Do not only go after those who pulled the trigger, as is customary; find out who ordered the murders and punish them
Following the murders of Linares and Toledo, both of which occurred in the first months of 2022, the newspaper Monitor Michoacán, in which they both worked, announced its definitive closure.
Y así es como se coarta la libertad de expresión, así es como se mata la verdad
Después de la muerte de Armando Linares, director de Monitor Michoacán, el medio ha anunciado que cerrará sus puertas por los peligros que representa DECIR LA VERDAD 😔💔 pic.twitter.com/I2ubZz5CWS
— Ruido en la Red (@RuidoEnLaRed) March 17, 2022
And this is how freedom of expression is curtailed, this is how the truth is killed
After the death of Armando Linares, director of Monitor Michoacán, the media has announced that it will close its doors due to the dangers of TELLING THE TRUTH 😔💔
“Words cannot describe the shock at the brutal murder of Armando Linares, which follows Mexico's staggering record of journalist killings in 2022,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, a representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “In light of the alarming frequency with which journalists are murdered, Mexican authorities have no choice but to acknowledge the rampant cycle of impunity and violence that fuels these attacks.”