Freedom of speech
Truth is not protected

In Mexico, being a journalist is a high-risk profession and the lack of attention from the government is alarming.
© Galo Cañas Rodrigo | Cuartoscuro

“No more murdered journalists” was one of the government promises of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will leave office this year. However, the six-year term is about to end and the reality is different: with 44 murders, 5 disappearances and 3,242 registered aggressions, the last six years are positioned as the most violent period for the Mexican press.

According to the recent report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Mexico is in the worrying 121st position out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom. This alarming data reveals a stark reality: Mexico, despite not being at war, continues to be one of the most dangerous and lethal countries for journalists.

Since 1995, violence against journalists in Mexico has been constant, but during the current government it has reached unprecedented levels, with a 50% increase in aggressions compared to the previous period. The year 2022 was the most violent year of the entire six-year term. In 2023, ARTICLE 19 registered 561 aggressions, with the Mexican State being the main aggressor (51.16%). This is followed by private individuals (16.93%), organized crime groups (10.16%) and, in fourth place, aggressions provoked by political parties (4.46%). 

However, the most worrying aspect is the lack of attention to this problem. In 2019, RSF and Propuesta Cívica presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the crimes committed against 116 journalists in Mexico between 2006 and 2018. To date, the government has not undertaken any of the necessary reforms to curb violence and impunity. In sum, the current government was characterized by intimidation by public officials, the president being one of the aggressors with a hostile discourse and disdain towards media and journalists, delegitimizing the profession and putting them at greater risk. 

Such violence harms all of society, not just the victims and their families. Increasingly, zones of silence are being created, where journalists flee their communities for fear of reprisals and attacks.

Freedom of the press is a pillar of any democratic society; without it, transparency, accountability and access to truthful and pluralistic information are eroded. Moreover, lack of press freedom not only limits our ability to know the truth, but also undermines the legitimacy of institutions and weakens the democratic fabric.

Journalists play a crucial role in our society by reporting, investigating and challenging power. We must ensure that they can do their work without fear of reprisal, violence or censorship. World Press Freedom Day is a reminder not to forget and to demand a safe and enabling environment for the practice of journalism in Mexico and around the world. Freedom of the press should not be a privilege, but a right for all citizens.