Press release

Mexico: Serious crimes against free expression in 2012

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ARTICLE 19

12 Mar 2013

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New research published today by the international advocacy group ARTICLE 19 reveals that in 2012:

  • 7 journalists were murdered in Mexico over something that they reported.
  • Violence against journalists and media workers in Mexico increased by more than 20% in a year.
  • 2 journalists were abducted and are still missing as a result of their work. 
  • There were 8 attacks on the premises of media organisations using either firearms or explosives because of something that had been published or broadcast.

Read the cases of:

In almost half of the cases (44%), state officials are directly implicated in that violence. 

Violence against journalists in Mexico City increased by 64% in 2012, making the federal district as violent as Veracruz, which was considered the most dangerous city in the country in 2011.

The authorities in Mexico have persistently blamed violence on organised crime in the country. Our research shows, however, that agents of the state are responsible for a staggering level of violence (44% of cases). Organised criminal gangs were responsible for violence in 14% of cases.

ARTICLE 19 notes that information flows are severely damaged in some regions as a result of violence against journalists, creating ‘information black holes’ across the country.

The President must ensure that the special prosecutor, who is responsible for the investigation of crimes against journalists, is given greater autonomy and the resources necessary to enable them to do their job effectively. In turn, the special prosecutor must be fully accountable and transparent.  

Facts

Violence against journalists and media workers – linked to something that they said - increased by more than 20% in 2012 compared with 2011. 

  • 7 journalists were murdered for something that they said.
  • 2 journalists were abducted and remain missing because of their work.
  • 8 buildings housing media organisations were attacked using firearms or explosives because of something that was published or broadcast.

207 cases or violence against journalists were recorded in 25 of the 32 states of the Federation.

Type of violence

Number of cases

Percentage

Murder

7

3.38

Disappearances

2

0.96

Kidnapping

11

5.31

Physical attacks

98

47.34

Illegal detention by the state

9

4.35

Forced displacement

14

6.76

Direct threats against the person

28

13.53

Intimidation and indirect threats

31

14.97

Other

7

3.38

Total

207

100

Who suffered violence?

Reporters and visual journalists were most vulnerable to being attacked.

Seven out of 10 attacks in the country were directed against these two groups.

Victim

Percentage

Print journalists

44

Broadcast journalists

28

Media proprietors

7.2

Editors

1.4

Radio and TV Presenters

1.9

Columnists

3.3

Organisations (property)

13

Who is responsible?

Almost half of attacks (44%) involved an agent of the state (of this figure, local police accounted for 45%, regional police 42% and federal police 12%).

The Mexican state says that organised criminal gangs are the single biggest threat to the safety of journalists, and highlights reporting of drug trafficking as a key issue in this.

However, our research shows that state officials were implicated in three times as many cases as organised crime, which accounted for 14% of violence against journalists.

Aggressor

Percentage

Agents of the state

46

Organised crime

14

Private individuals

14

Political groups

5

Social groups

6

Unknown

15

Executive summary and full report

Read the full executive summary and download the full report here >