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European Parliament calls on Mexico to act against attacks on journalists

607 MEPs call on López Obrador to stop attacks on journalists and seek a solution to ensure their safety and protection
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AP/EDUARDO VERDUGO  -   A woman places photos of murdered journalists during a nationwide protest against the murder of journalists Lourdes Maldonado and freelance photojournalist Margarito Martinez, in Mexico City, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022.

The latest meeting of the European Parliament has concluded with the approval of a document urging the Mexican government to take action on the situation facing journalists in the country. The resolution was voted by 607 MEPs in favour, two against and 73 abstentions. The House calls on the country's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to be forceful and restrictive, to start being firm in his decisions and to condemn the attacks.

On the other hand, they have also reminded and asked the president to curb his own attacks against journalists. López Obrador holds daily morning conferences where he attacks and, in a roundabout way, incites others to violence against reporters. MEPs have described this as "populist rhetoric".

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REUTERS/GUSTAVO GRAF - A photo of the late photojournalist Margarito Martínez, who was murdered last week in Tijuana, is placed next to a sign reading "Press, don't shoot" on a fence protecting the perimeter of the National Palace, as part of a protest by journalists demanding protection from the federal government.

The adoption of this text is an unprecedented and unprecedented request, as the European Union (EU) has never been confronted with this kind of problem outside its territories and beyond the reach of its power. The events are becoming increasingly common in the Latin American country and the EU fears that the situation will continue to worsen. 

The resolution considered the situation in the country to be extremely serious. "Violence, human rights violations and attacks against journalists and human rights defenders (...) are increasing dramatically in Mexico; widespread violence continues to escalate and the situation is seriously deteriorating," says the document issued by the European institution.

In addition, it also points out that these terrible crimes against journalists are occurring among those media professionals who were investigating cases of corruption, especially those directly involving public officials and high-ranking officials of Mexican institutions. Another of the cases where violence is most present in journalism is in the involvement of these reporters in uncovering the work of cartels and the world of drugs.

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PHOTO/ARCHIVO - The European Parliament

The EU recognises Mexico as one of the most violent and bloody countries in which to work as a journalist. It is the worst country in which to practice journalism, and the figures for the last few decades are worrying. 

For his part, López Obrador has not made a clear statement on these violations of human rights and the profession of journalism. His speeches have been considered "lukewarm" to date, and he has even verbally attacked some of the reporters who attend his conferences. This is a trend throughout the Mexican executive, which fervently supports its president, and some have publicly described journalists as "media mercenaries", as is the case of Mario Delgado, regional leader of the Morena party. Delgado himself has made it clear many times that the journalists are only trying to attack the government and the president himself. 

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REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO - The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador

So far this year, only three months into the year, six journalists have been murdered in the country. It is worrying that many of them have been almost back-to-back crimes, as in the case of Margarito Martínez and Lourdes Maldonado, whose deaths are only six days apart and whose crimes took place in the same city.  It is worth noting that in just two decades, more than 150 journalists have been brutally murdered in the country and it is reported that violence against journalists has increased considerably over the last four years.

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REUTER/JORGE DUENES - A journalist stands near the coffin of Mexican journalist Lourdes Maldonado who was murdered in the northern border city of Tijuana, during her wake in Tijuana, Mexico.

And it is not only the deaths that are worrying the international press and various journalists' associations. Being a journalist in Mexico means constant harassment, from which many have been forced to leave the profession or even flee the region. Many media outlets no longer dare to mention corruption or criminal gangs for fear of reprisals. And it seems that the justice system does not support them either, as 90% of the cases remain unpunished. 

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.