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News > Latin America

Mexico Still The Most Dangerous Place For Journalists in LATAM

  • Journalists in Culiacan, Sinaloa, march on Freedom of the Press Day a month after the murder of journalist Javier Valdez. Mexico June, 7. 2017.

    Journalists in Culiacan, Sinaloa, march on Freedom of the Press Day a month after the murder of journalist Javier Valdez. Mexico June, 7. 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 31 December 2018

According to a variety of sources, Mexico registered more than 10 journalists murdered in 2018.

With a rising trend in killings of journalists worldwide, Mexico is still the most dangerous country in Latin America to be a media professional, according to variety of sources by media and freedom of speech organizations.


Half of All Journalists Killed in 2018 'Deliberately Targeted'

Mexico has been regularly leading the list as the most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America and the most dangerous worldwide for a country not engaged in armed conflict, although there exists internal armed conflicts nationwide.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) registered 11 killings of journalists in Mexico in 2018, followed by Ecuador with three, three in Brazil, two in Colombia and two in Guatemala.

The year marked a reverse in the “downward trend in killings of journalists and media staff” worldwide, as the number increased from 82 to 94 worldwide, with Asia Pacific leading the list as a continent, followed by America with 27.

The IFJ highlighted the high profile murder of the Washington Post columnist and Saudi national, Jamal Khashoggi; the multiple bomb attacks in Afghanistan and “the reign of violence by organised crime in Mexico which remains firmly trained on journalists.”

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), perhaps having the most conservative numbers, reported nine journalists killed in Latin America in 2018: four in Mexico, three between Colombia and Ecuador, two in Brazil and one in Nicaragua. The committee is still investigating eight other violent deaths in the region, but the number is still low even taking those into account.

During 2018 until Dec. 1, Mexico was ruled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and President Enrique Peña Nieto and was the most violent year for the country, with more than 40,000 murders according to the National System of Public Security.

Journalists are not exempt from the violent dynamics lived in Mexico especially since the far-right former president Felipe Calderon declared “war on drugs,” shortly after his induction ceremony in 2006.

Reporting about the wrong mayor, shady businesses or territorial disputes between criminal organizations can lead to threats, forced exiles, "disappearances" or murder.


US Makes Top 5 In Record Year Of Killed Journalists

According to CPJ, most murders of journalists in Mexico are “indications of the participation of organized crime and government actors.” The committee used the judicial news Juan Velediaz’s “narcopolítica” term to explain the violent surge, in which the interests of state officials, local politics and organized crime converge.

Since the center-left Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office on Dec. 1, at least two journalists have been murdered.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) registered at least 63 professional journalists around the world killed this year; a 15 percent increase compared to last year. The number of fatalities reaches 80 if you include all media workers and citizen journalists.

Among them, 49 were deliberately targeted or murdered while 31 were killed while reporting.

The Paris-based body said that the six most dangerous countries for journalists to work in were Afghanistan (15), Syria (11), Mexico (9), Yemen (8), the United States (6), and India (6).

The Inter American Press Association (SIP), based in Miami, registered 31 journalists killed in America, one missing and five more imprisoned. Mexico leads the list with 13, followed by Brazil with four, three in Ecuador, two in Colombia, two in Guatemala and one in Nicaragua.

The president of the SIP, Maria Elvira Dominguez, regretted the lack of respect for the “individual and social freedom” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, even though those three countries didn’t figure prominently in the list.

The governments of Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Guatemala have been close allies of the U.S., and are listed by the SIP as the countries with the deadliest rate for journalists.

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