Mexican journalist receives the press freedom award of the Swedish section of Reporters without borders
The Press freedom award 2019 of the Swedish section of Reporters without borders goes to the Mexican journalist Ismael Bojórquez Perea. He will receive the award during a seminar on journalists and security at the Post museum in Stockholm on May 3, the international day for press freedom.
Ismael Bojórquez Perea, 61, is editor in chief at the Mexican weekly newspaper Ríodoce in the state of Sinaloa. Under his direction, the newspaper has investigated cases of corruption, impunity, narco cartels and organized crime. In addition, he has criticized the Mexican government and the judicial system for not doing enough when it comes to the investigation on murders of journalists.
In Mexico reigns an almost total impunity when it comes to murders on journalists. Out of 114 journalists that the prosecution authority has registered since 2000, only 48 have been investigated and in only three cases have the guilty been punished. This has led many journalists to silence and avoid dangerous topics.
Ríodoce is one of the newspapers that has continued investigating corruption and violence. But to a high cost. There have been several threats and in May 2017 Ismael Bojórquez Perea’s colleague Javier Valdez was killed. He was shot down with 13 bullets outside the office and Ismael was the first person who arrived at the scene of the crime. "We won’t change our work. We will continue doing what we do, but we will be more cautious", said Ismael Bojórquez Perea at that moment.
Since Ríodoce was funded in 2003, the editorial staff has had to endure the intents of influencing the independence of the paper by local politicians’ and those involved in organized crimes. The journalists of the newspaper have also been intercepted through spy programs on their phones.
"Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. The laureate of this year has at risk of his own life become one of the main spokespersons for press freedom and the protection of journalists", says Erik Halkjaer, President at Reporters without borders Sweden.
The last five years, 39 journalists were killed in Mexico. That is more than in any other country in the world during the same period. In the press freedom index 2019 of Reporters without borders, Mexico end up at a position of 144 out of 180 countries.