05/10/11 - Civil organizations Artículo 19 and Cencos recently presented their joint study regarding violations of freedom of expression and cases of aggression against the Mexican press titled “Informe 2010: Violencia en México y Derecho a la Información (Violence in Mexico and the Right to Information).” The study found that the majority of reported violations against the rights of journalists involve some sort of physical violence or attack (52.9%), while threats and acts of intimidation are the second most common type (31.61%). According to the study, the most dangerous states for members of the press to be in are Guerrero, Michoacán, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Nuevo León y Sinaloa. In these 7 states combined, there have been 8 reported homicides, 1 disappearance, and 13 cases of violent attacks, which represent 41.9% (65 cases) of the total number of aggressive cases reported at the national level.
According to Artículo 19 spokesperson Iván Ruiz, members of the press have experienced some of the worst conditions throughout history during President Calderón’s administration. Since Calderón came to power, there have been 44 reported cases of assassinations and 8 disappearances involving journalists. Almost half of the number of reported cases are caused by Mexican authorities, and 26% of cases are caused by organized crime members. However, the cases involving organized crime members consist of acts that are more violent and aggressive than those committed by Mexican authorities.
Statistics from this joint study show that acts of aggression against journalists and individuals who work in the media industry was reduced by 36% from the 244 documented cases in 2009, compared to the 155 cases in 2010. However, as stated by VOA News, Iván Ruiz explained that the decrease in the number of cases is not due to improving conditions for members of the press. Instead, it is because reporters and journalists have failed to report instances of when their rights have been violated to authorities. Ruiz explained that their behavior is due to two reasons, the first being that journalists feel the Mexican government has been unsuccessful at investigating further into these violations and has failed to provide them with adequate security. The second reason is based on the fear of asking for help due to the potential negative repercussions, such as journalists having their lives threatened by organized crime members. Ruiz also discussed that although the number of reported cases decreased from 2009 to 2010, the severity of the cases has increased, meaning that more reported cases now involve homicide, disappearances, and physical attacks.