Alarming vulnerability of journalists in Mexico
The vulnerability faced by journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico is alarming, the aggression and crimes against them are increasing and the recent words of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to refer to these sectors represent an invitation to be attacked, National and international experts agreed.
During the International Meeting of Defenders and Journalists convened by the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the representative in Mexico of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jan Jarab, indicated that 2019 it starts "in a terrible way" for these unions, because in less than two months six defenders and two journalists have been killed, representing a third of the crimes against them registered in 2018.
He stressed that truth and justice could hardly be achieved in a democratic state, but for the work of activists and communicators. Without the committed work of those who integrate both unions, he added, serious human rights violations such as forced disappearances committed by elements of the Navy in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, between February and May of last year, would not be known; military abuses against civilians in Tlatlaya, State of Mexico; or the release of three Tlanixco activists unjustly imprisoned for more than 11 years.
He called on the new federal government to promote a State policy that guarantees the rights to defend human rights and freedom of expression, for which it is necessary to overcome the prevailing impunity that prevails in the aggression against these professionals.
In his turn, Edison Lanza, rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), called for the protection of communicators in the country and for the State to comply with the recommendations that, together with its similar United Nations, David Kaye, made to Mexico after his work visit in December of 2017.
"The discourse that high public officials adopt in front of the media and journalists is a central element of this (abuses), because if there is a president, whatever it is, we can choose examples from all continents, which says that the the press is corrupt, that it is an opponent, sold, that permanently that preaching is, let's say, an invitation to aggression on the part of its followers and other people, "he emphasized.
In Mexico, he lamented, journalists are subject to multiple attacks, as he was able to document together with Kaye during his visit to the country, which motivated a final report published in July of last year. Among those abuses, he said, are assassinations, disappearances, kidnappings, threats and harassment, digital threats and forced internal displacement.
He highlighted that emblematic crimes such as the killings of the co-defendants of the Day in Chihuahua and Sinaloa, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez, murdered on March 23 and May 15, 2017, respectively, as well as those of many other communicators, represent a silencing to society as a whole.
"It is not only important to catch the "gavillero", but to reach the intellectual authors, there will be no democracy in society if they do not explain what happened to Miroslava and Javier".
Therefore, he called for strengthening the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and the Specialized Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression, and that cyber espionage was also documented in 2017 by government bodies against defenders and journalists, through Pegasus malware, be investigated independently.
José Antonio Guevara, director of the CMDPDH, warned about the risks and vulnerability faced by activists and communicators.
He stressed that President López Obrador criticized the work of both sectors. "It has established a very adverse environment for the independent work of human rights organizations, which in order to propose public policy modification, we do research and from that, we make proposals for policy or regulatory changes that sometimes go against the interests of the public. new government.
"In order to advance his agenda, he (the president) has been mentioning in his morning pulpit criticism of the work of civil society organizations, which should be rejected by all of us, we call on him to moderate his comments and recognize the importance of journalists and defenders to strengthen democracy. "