MADRID – A muckraking Mexican author and women’s rights activist said in denouncing violence against journalists that she and other media professionals were war correspondents in their own country and expressed skepticism about the government’s ability to remedy the problem.
“We’re war correspondents in our own country, especially women,” Lydia Cacho told EFE in an interview in Madrid, adding that she and her colleagues have the sense their lives are at risk.
The acclaimed investigative journalist said she had no faith in President Enrique Peña Nieto, whom she described as a “big censor of Mexican media,” and no confidence in any measures the government may take to tackle the violence.
Thus far this year, seven journalists who had been investigating or reporting on organized crime and corruption in Mexico have been killed in different cities nationwide.
In 2016, 11 journalists were killed and 415 were targets of acts of aggression, according to civic organization Articulo 19, which said last year was the deadliest ever for members of the Mexican media.
A total of 126 reporters have been killed since 2000 in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work.
Cacho, whose 2005 book “Los Demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden) exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders, said more than 60 percent of the murders of journalists have been committed by state actors, including soldiers, police, governors and mayors.
“On the one hand we have members of the political class as enemies, and on the other hand organized crime. We’re caught in the crossfire,” she said.
Articulo 19’s figures also show Mexican officials as the main culprits, saying they were responsible for 53 percent of acts of aggression against journalists in 2016 and constitute the greatest threat to freedom of expression in Mexico.
Cacho herself was the victim of psychological torture and police abuses for revealing the crimes of Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Jean Succar Kuri and others in “Los Demonios del Eden.”
She revealed the abuse she suffered in another book titled “Memorias de una infamia” (Memoirs of an Infamy).
Cacho will receive the Congress of Cadiz’s Ibero-American Award for Equality on Monday for defending and promoting policies that support gender equality and helping dignify the role of women.