ARTICLE 19 Mexico has launched its annual report: Estado de Censura (“State of Censorship”). It examines the issue of freedom of expression in Mexico and shows that fear, impunity and violence are commonplace when exercising the right to freedom of the press in this country.
The report reveals that in 2014 a journalist was assaulted every 26.7 hours in Mexico. In other words, under the current administration headed by Enrique Peña Nieto, the number of assaults on the press was nearly double that reported during Felipe Calderón’s term of office, when a journalist was assaulted every 48.1 hours.
In the first two years of Peña Nieto’s government, 10 journalists were murdered – in all probability because of their work – and another four went missing. These crimes remain unpunished.
In Estado de Censura, ARTICLE 19 has documented 326 attacks on journalists and the media. Physical assaults on people and material assaults on the media accounted for the highest proportion (43%) of total cases; following on from these are intimidation (16%), arbitrary detentions (14%) and threats (13%).
Of the total number of assaults recorded, 48% were perpetrated by public officials, effectively making them the main attackers of the press in 2014.
Mexico City is the place where most of the assaults on the press took place, with 85 cases recorded. In second and third place are Quintana Roo and Veracruz, with 42 and 41 assaults, respectively.
ARTICLE 19 recorded 59 assaults via digital platforms and, in particular, 12 cyber attacks on media whose editorial line was critical of the government.
Failures in the justice system continued to prevail, especially when it came to state bodies such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), the Secretariat of the Interior’s Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders, and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), which were not only inefficient, but also continued to toe the official line.
Through its actions, the State led the press and citizens to engage in self-censorship and created conditions that violate the right to freedom of expression.