PARIS – Mexico has become the most dangerous country in the world for reporters and the situation is abetted by impunity, an international organization for the defense of free press alleged in an open letter to the Mexican President on Thursday.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published the document to coincide with Enrique Peña Nieto’s arrival in France, where he is due to meet with his recently elected French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.
“RSF, the international organization for the defense of the freedom of press, draws your attention to the fact that, in 2017, Mexico became the deadliest country in the world for journalists, higher than Syria, a country officially at war,” said the NGO’s secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, signatory of the open letter.
Deloire listed seven journalists killed in Mexico since Jan. 1 and said that the death of four of the victims was no doubt related to their profession: Javier Valdez Cardenas, Maximino Rodriguez Palacios, Cecilio Pineda Birto and Miroslava Breach Veducea.
He added that the motives behind the murders of Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Alvares Landeros and Salvador Adame Pardo were not yet clear because of a lack of transparency from the authorities in charge of the investigation.
The situation was not fitting of a democratic nation and nor has it arisen only recently; over 100 reporters were assassinated in Mexico since 2000, with 12 murders taking place in 2016 alone, Demoire added.
As well as murders, kidnapping, aggression and disappearance have occurred at a high rate for several years.
“Unfortunately, impunity is the rule in Mexico,” Demoire alleged.
He went on: “Collusion between criminal organizations and certain political authorities and national administrations and the fact that political personalities don’t hesitate to publicly attack journalists instead of supporting them exacerbates the pressures on the profession.”
RSF urged Nieto to put pressure on local governments in the most dangerous areas for journalists to tackle impunity and increase measures to protect reporters.
It also recommended that he ensures transparency in Mexico’s human rights’ commission and suggested he create a unique service for journalists within the country’s executive commission for victims support.