The latest report by Mexico’s Human Rights National Commission (CNDH) revealed that 90 percent of murders against media professionals end without any real investigation or punishment for the people responsible, meaning only 14 out of the 140 murder cases since 2000 have been actually solved.
The CNDH denounced the violent situation of journalism in Mexico during the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, pointing out that 21 have been missing since 2005 and there have been 52 attacks of media offices. No one has been sentenced for these last cases.
Reviewing the 2016 general recommendation No. 24 “About Freedom of Speech in Mexico,” which addressed 176 investigations related to crimes against journalists, “the results are tragic, seeing that there’s been a sentence in only 10 percent of the cases while the other 90 percent remains impune.”
Locating the 140 murders geographically, 22 percent took place in the state of Veracruz, 16 in Tamaulipas, 16 in Guerrero, 15 in Oaxaca and 14 in Chihuahua.
The CNDH demanded the authorities “investigate with a gender perspective,” standardizing protocols and investigations criteria, improving legislation on journalists’ protection, designing risk maps and inform society on the importance of freedom speech and public opinion.
“Impunity generates fear, self-censorship and lack of trust among media professionals, and it’s an invitation for aggressions to continue against journalists,” declared the CNDH, adding that any society “looking forward to consolidate democracy as a system of government requires critical and free journalists and media.”
They acknowledged and welcomed the approval of the ‘Standardized Protocol of Investigation for Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Speech’ by the General Prosecuting Office (PGR) on October 16, but urged incumbent and current institutions to do the necessary investigations and always consider the journalism activities as the main line of inquiry in cases of aggressions against this profession.
November 2 was designated as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists by the U.N. in memory of two French journalists murdered in Mali in 2013. According to the U.N., about 900 journalists have been murdered during the last 10 years because of their work.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world to practice the journalistic profession. In 2017, Reporters Without Borders registered 11 murders in the North American nation, declaring it the most dangerous country for journalists along with Syria. Other human rights organizations, as Amnesty International, have given recommendations to the state to improve the human rights and journalists situation in the country.