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News > Latin America

Peña Nieto's Term Reaches Record High of Violence Against Press

  • Journalists and activists in Mexico City protesting the murders of Mexican journalists.

    Journalists and activists in Mexico City protesting the murders of Mexican journalists. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 March 2018

The report, titled “Simulated democracy, nothing to applaud,” found that half of the attacks registered against journalists were carried out by Mexican state officials.

Enrique Peña Nieto's six-year presidential term has registered the highest record level of violence against journalists in Mexico's history, with almost 2,000 attacks and 41 murders, as reported by the human rights group Articulo 19 on Tuesday.

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With a 212 percent rise in attacks recorded between December 2012 and Feb. 5, 2018, this is the highest number the organization has recorded since it started documenting homicides in the press sector in 2007.

2017 has been the most violent year with over 500 attacks, representing a 53 percent increase compared with 2013 and a 212 percent increase compared with 2012 — with 162 attacks.

As per homicides, the previous presidential term of Felipe Calderon recorded seven more cases in total.

However, Peña Nieto's term recorded the first cases of state intervention in the media, with the New York Times reporting last June how the federal-state used a software meant to spy on enemies of the state on activists and journalists, among others.

Besides, the report found that close to half of the attacks were carried out by state officials, while only eight percent were due to organized crime groups. As for murders, about a fifth of them could be attributed to state officials and another fifth to organized crime groups in Peña Nieto's last year.

High levels of impunity partly explain why state officials are often involved in the attacks against press professionals, with only two sentences issued out of a total of 800 investigations opened by the Public Ministry between July 2010 and February 2016. Over 200 more cases have been opened since then, but only two became trials.

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