MEXICO CITY – Mexico is the most dangerous country in the Americas for journalists, leading many reporters to speak up and demand that the candidates vying to win the July 1 presidential election pledge to address violence against the press.
“Unfortunately, we have not seen any of the candidates present a clear and specific proposal to stop attacks against the press and guarantee the right to freedom of expression,” Ana Cristina Ruelas, head of the press freedom group Article 19, said during a press conference Wednesday in Mexico City.
Ruelas said “it is a lie to talk about democracy in Mexico when freedom of expression does not exist,” urging the candidates to recognize that the press in Mexico “is subject to state violence.”
According to the organization, 48 percent of attacks against reporters – which range from harassment and threats to actual violence – are perpetrated by municipal authorities, followed by state and federal officials.
Most of these attacks are threats, since “in Mexico a threat is enough to silence journalists because they know that death usually follows,” Ruelas said.
Article 19 launched a campaign Wednesday to raise awareness about attacks against the press with the help of public relations agency La Doblevida, which designed a bulletproof vest made with news clippings about reporters who have been murdered in Mexico.
Manuel Camacho, who coordinates the project, said that the aim of creating the vest was “to show that information can protect us all” and to defend the idea that reporters should not have to wear bulletproof vests.
According to Article 19, during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which began in December 2012, at least 42 journalists have been murdered.
Reporters Without Borders has noted that, in 2017, 12 reporters were murdered in Mexico, becoming the world’s most dangerous country for journalists along with Syria.