Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) launched yet another attack on ARTICLE 19 and Mexico’s civil society on World Press Freedom Day. Once again he made clear his open hostility towards media freedom, free speech and independent journalism, and his disregard for the safety of journalists.
At his daily press conference on 3 May, AMLO said that the US government’s funding of civil society organisations that were critical of his administration, including ARTICLE 19’s Mexico and Central America, was a violation of Mexico’s sovereignty. He said he had already taken up the issue with President Joe Biden, requesting that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) cease its funding.
‘World Press Freedom Day celebrates the people who are committed to delivering news and information to the public, often at great personal risk,’ said Quinn McKew, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director. ‘ARTICLE 19 colleagues in Mexico are passionately dedicated to protecting those who face these risks in a country that remains one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists. AMLO’s attacks against ARTICLE 19’s Mexico and Central America office are attacks against press freedom. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Mexico.’
In Mexico, an attack against the press takes place every 13 hours. As the work of ARTICLE 19’s Mexico and Central America office reveals, since AMLO took office in December 2018, violence against journalists has risen by 85%; 37 journalists have been killed during his presidency. Impunity is endemic, with 97.9% of crimes against the press going unpunished. In 2022, ARTICLE 19 registered 696 attacks against the press, making it the most violent year for journalism since the organisation began recording aggressions in 2007. The 12 murders registered last year means it is tied with 2017 as the deadliest year for the press.
Since it opened 15 years ago, ARTICLE 19’s Mexico and Central America office has worked tirelessly to document violence and attacks on journalists, developed mechanisms to make the government more transparent, and supported journalists who have been victims of violence – and is routinely attacked as a result.
Despite these attacks, ARTICLE 19 will continue its work in Mexico and the region, and around the world.
ARTICLE 19 stands in solidarity with journalists and human rights defenders, and demands guarantees for their – and our – lives and integrity.