Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum joins RSF's pledge to defend journalism

With less than a week to go to Mexico’s presidential election, Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate of the Sigamos Haciendo Historia coalition that includes the ruling Morena party, has given Reporters Without Borders (RSF) a signed pledge to defend press freedom if elected.

As part of this commitment, Sheinbaum has pledged to set up a working group to oversee the implementation of measures to protect and defend journalism in the first quarter of 2025 if she is successful in her bid to succeed Morena founder Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president. 

The same pledge was signed last week by the two leading opposition candidates – Xóchitl Gálvez of the Strength and Heart for Mexico coalition, and Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizens’ Movement. The election is due to be held on 2 June.

“We hail the pledges given by the three presidential candidates to defend and promote journalism. This show of political will is very welcome and opens the way to concrete cooperation with the next government on safeguarding press freedom in Mexico. The issue of crimes of violence against journalists has been absent during the election campaign, so we will pay close attention to see that it is prioritised during the coming months. In a country where 38 media professionals have been killed since 2018, the protection of journalists and the fight against impunity must be central components of government policy.

Artur Romeu
Director of RSF’s Latin America bureau

Drafted by RSF, the pledge signed by the three presidential candidates defines five strategic initiatives that would form the basis of a government action plan designed to ensure that – for journalists – Mexico ceases to be the most dangerous of the world’s countries that are not at war. At least 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the past six years.

The presidential candidates are urged to commit to the following five priority tasks:

  • Prioritise defence of journalism and the right to information;
  • Guarantee full protection for journalists;
  • Promote legislation that safeguards the ability to practise journalism in complete safety;
  • Combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists;
  • Develop sustainability and safety measures for media in the areas where they are in the process of disappearing.

The specific measures that Sheinbaum undertook to implement include: 

  • Providing support for displaced journalists and their families in coordination with state and municipal authorities;
  • Reviewing the functioning of the federal mechanism for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders, and adopting a permanent system for reevaluating it;
  • Asking the federal prosecutor general’s office, under the executive’s authority, to establish parameters for evaluating application of the Standardised Investigative Protocol to crimes against freedom of expression;
  • Encouraging the competent authorities to give the families of slain or missing journalists and their legal representatives access to investigation files;
  • Coordinating initiatives with Mexico’s states to promote changes to laws criminalising defamation, a charge that violates journalistic freedom when used arbitrarily;
  • Incorporating recognition of the importance of journalism and respect for the media into governmental policy.
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