12/13/2023 (written by tfaris) – According to Reporters Without Borders, eleven journalists were killed in 2022 in Mexico, accounting for 20% of journalists killed in the world in 2022 in connection to their work. Mexico often ends the year being the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. Since 2000, 163 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, and 28 have gone missing. So far in 2023, five journalists have been killed. It is estimated that there is an attack against the press in Mexico every 13 hours. Additionally, about 95% of all murders of journalists remain in impunity in Mexico (AP News).
5 Journalists Attacked in One Day
On Tuesday, November 28, five journalists were shot in two separate incidents. In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, four journalists were attacked in a shooting. All four were taken to the local hospital. The event occurred when the four journalists, despite being reporters from different news outlets, were traveling together in a van when they were approached by individuals on motorcycles who started shooting at the van. While all four journalists survived the armed attack, 2 remained in intensive care for multiple days afterward to recover from their bullet wounds. Additionally, in Apatzingán, Michoacán, a reporter named Maynor Ramón Ramírez Arroyo was shot and injured. Ramón Ramírez also survived this attack. He also survived an injury sustained from a shooting attack in 2016.
3 Journalists Kidnapped
The previous week, three journalists were kidnapped from Taxco, Guerrero. Marco Toledo, a journalist, was forcibly taken from his home on Tuesday, November 21st along with his wife and son. Toledo is reported to have continuously received threats for some time before the disappearance. Silvia Arce and Alberto Sánchez, a couple who are both reporters, were also kidnapped on Wednesday the 22nd. According to multiple sources, all three journalists, including the wife of Toledo, were freed on Saturday November 25th. Toledo’s son remains missing. All three journalists work for smaller and independent news reporting sites or newspapers.
Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists
Ramón Ramírez is one example of a journalist who has received protection from the Mexican government’s Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists. The Mexican government introduced this protection mechanism in 2012 to confront violence against those who are seeking to strengthen public interests, one qualifying group being journalists (Atlantic Council). When a journalist reports an aggression or threat, that threat is evaluated and risk is decided to fall under one of three categories. These categories include urgent protection, where protection is required to be implemented within 9 hours of requests, protection, where it is not required to be implemented within a defined period of time, and preventative measures. This protection includes the presence of bodyguards provided by the government to ensure the physical safety of those who are being threatened.
However, this mechanism is not known to be completely effective. Some of the program’s shortcomings were identified by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Poor training, too few personnel and resources, and insufficient coordination with state authorities were all identified as reasons why the mechanism often fails to provide the protection it is designed to provide. There have been at least nine reporters that have been killed while technically under the protection of the mechanism since its creation in 2012. Furthermore, the mechanism only functions in 17 of the 32 states, and the CPJ reports that the protections are only effective in the states of Mexico City and Veracruz.
(2022, August 30). In 2022, journalist killings continue unabated in Mexico amid a climate of impunity. Committee to Protect Journalists. https://cpj.org/2022/08/in-2022-journalist-killings-continue-unabated-in-mexico-amid-a-climate-of-impunity/#:~:text=Problems%20limiting%20its%20impact%20include%20poor%20training%2C%20too,mechanism%20since%20the%20institution%20was%20created%20in%202012
Reporters Without Borders. Reporters Without Borders – Mexico. https://rsf.org/en/country/mexico
(2023, November 24). Desaparecen tres periodistas en Guerrero. Expansion Politica. https://politica.expansion.mx/estados/2023/11/24/desaparecen-tres-periodistas-en-guerrero?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=branded