Knight Center
Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Report says state governments in Mexico are a "major obstacle" to press freedom



As a result of their ineffective prosecution of crimes against journalists and attempts at influencing news coverage, state authorities in Mexico have become a "major obstacle" to press freedom in the country, according to a report from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the International Press Institute (IPI). 

Released on Monday, April 15, the report's findings were based on a three-day press-freedom mission to Mexico by a commission made up of representatives from both organizations last February. The delegation's objective was to analyze the both the federal government and media's steps to guarantee journalists' safety in the country. 

The delegation studied the federal system of protection for journalists in danger and the Special Prosecutor for the Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression. 

"Our visit to Mexico revealed an abysmal gap between the federal government’s apparent will to seriously tackle the issue of journalist safety and, on the other hand, the unwillingness of certain state governments to acknowledge that a threat to freedom of expression even exists, much less do anything significant about it,” said Vincent Peyrègne, director-general of WAN-IFRA, who added, “If the federal government does not tackle the lack of responsibility at the state level, its own efforts will have little or no results.”

The report also highlighted attacks on the press by organized crime, leading to a population of internally displaced reporters fleeing to Mexico City, the capital. For journalists who decide to stay in the periphery, their only option is self-censorship. 

Since 2000, 70 journalists have lost their lives and since 2006, Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, according to figures from IPI.

 



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