MEXICO CITY – In a country where The brutal killings of journalists are near-regular, and a recent series of violent deaths have sparked a rare wave of outrage among reporters and ordinary people in Mexico.
Journalists in dozens of cities across the country staged marches and demonstrations on Tuesday night, one of the largest mass protests over the murder of a media worker in recent years after when three of their colleagues were killed this month, the two of them were just days apart. city.
“It’s infuriating, it’s infuriating, because journalists always give our souls, our hearts, our bodies,” said Oscar Luna, who worked as a reporter for 10 years and joined a ceremony in Mexico City, said. “From one moment to the next, they take away the passion, the commitment, the love, and the dedication you have for journalism.”
The murders happened in quick succession.
Alfonso Margarito Martínez Esquivel, a photographer who has worked with domestic and foreign media agencies, has was killed outside his home broad daylight on January 17 in the border city of Tijuana. Just a few days later, Lourdes Maldonado López, a veteran TV reporter covering politics and corruption, shoot and kill inside her car, also in Tijuana.
“I have never felt this anxiety, not only for me, but for other people, for the people I have worked with for 20 years,” said Aline Corpus, longtime reporter of Tijuana for one of Mexico’s national newspapers. a vigil in the city on a Tuesday night. “You feel like an easy target.”
Two murders in Tijuana followed the murder of reporter José Luis Gamboa Arenas in the eastern port city of Veracruz on January 10, according to the newspaper. State Commission on the Attention and Protection of Journalists. The news reports said he was stabbed.
The murder sequence has been emphasized dangerous environment that local media people have to face: Theo Committee to Protect Journalistsnine journalists were killed in Mexico last year, making the country one of the most dangerous country around the world for reporters, along with India and Afghanistan.
Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s representative in Mexico, said in a statement: “The brutal killing of Lourdes Maldonado is appalling. “The ongoing brutality against journalists in this country is a direct consequence of the unwillingness and inability of the authorities to resist the festering punishment that caused these murders. “
While the Latin American nation has experienced widespread violence in recent years, with more than 30,000 murders recorded Last year alone, according to the Mexican government, journalists were routinely targeted with deadly precision, often in direct revenge for their work. In many cases, the suspects include the authorities themselves.
Leopoldo Maldonado, regional director of the media advocacy group Article 19. Mr. Maldonado said Mr. Maldonado had no relationship with Ms. Maldonado López.
“What we call a silent zone is being imposed, they’re spreading, they’re spreading like a pandemic,” he said.
Despite violence against reporters in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken a stance against the media, frequently calling out and attacking specific journalists and commentators.
Last year, he started hosting a weekly segment of his morning press conferences called “Who is the liar of the week?“To point out the alleged biases in the media.
Such overt hostility towards the press from the most powerful figure in the country contributes to creating an environment that allows assaults on journalists, Maldonado said.
“You’ve got a president talking about the press, grading or discrediting the press, but at the same time not much has been done to stop these atrocities,” he said. “The president’s discredit is seen by others as permission to strike.”
This week, Mr. López Obrador took a more conciliatory tone, and promised a full investigation into the murder of Ms. Maldonado López.
“We have an obligation to investigate this crime and prevent further killings of journalists and citizens,” he said at a news conference on Tuesday. “That’s why we work every day.”
As for the underlying cause of the killings, Mr. López Obrador adopted a familiar refrain during his press conference a day earlier, blaming previous governments for “corruption, inequality and violence.” ” that his administration had inherited.
But more than three years after taking office, some are beginning to lose patience with a president elected with the slogan “hugs not bullets” and promises to limit violence.
“Most, if not all, killings of journalists go unpunished,” said Luna, who was holding a sign that read, “Hugs for storytellers, bullets for for journalists” said at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“Nothing has changed – three years of forming a new government and nothing has changed,” he added.
The murder of Maldonado López has been particularly painful for some because she warned the president during a press conference in 2019 about the danger she faced because of a labor dispute with her employer. his old, a local television station.
“I also came to ask for your support,” she said. “Because I even fear for my life.”
The station is owned by former governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla, a member of López Obrador’s Morena party. Maldonado López filed a lawsuit against the company for unpaid compensation she claims she owes after being unjustly fired by the station in 2013.
Days before she was killed this month, a federal labor court ruled in favor of Maldonado López, ordering the confiscation of some of the broadcaster’s properties to compensate the veteran reporter. , follow local media reports.
Mr. Bonilla refused any connection to the death of Mrs. Maldonado López.
Back in 2019, Mr. López Obrador said he would ask his spokesperson to help Maldonado López in the case. This week, the president called for caution.
“You can’t automatically link a labor dispute to a crime, it’s not responsible,” he said Monday. “We have to do a thorough investigation.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/world/americas/mexico-journalists-killings.html Kill Spree Spurs The Wrath of Journalists in Mexico