RSF urges Biden, Trudeau to raise journalist safety during summit in Mexico City
The safety of journalists must be part of the discussion when American President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador convene in Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit on January 9. According to Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) figures, 2022 was the deadliest year on record for journalists in Mexico with 14 media workers killed–at least 11 of them in direct connection with their work.
President Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must not overlook the opportunity to not only raise the topic of journalist killings in Mexico, but to press President Lopez Obrador and the Mexican government to commit to serious reform to end the bloodshed.
“Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist right now,” said RSF’s Latin America bureau director, Artur Romeu. “But rather than take the problem seriously, Mexico’s president regularly lashes out against journalists, stigmatising their profession instead of demonstrating the necessary political will to prevent and protect media workers, and to push for more rigorous investigations to end the culture of impunity."
Not only was 2022 a particularly violent year for the press in Mexico, which recorded 20 percent of the world's journalists murdered, but for four consecutive years Mexico has topped the list of countries with the most journalists murdered globally. In 20 years, 125 media workers have been killed there.
Mexico has an official state protection mechanism in place for journalists, but a 2022 report by RSF detailed its shortcomings: “Deeply flawed coordination between the different state agencies and impunity for those who attack journalists limit the state’s capacity to address the entrenched violence against the media, while the media themselves continue to be vilified by senior officials.” The report also offered eight recommendations for improving the protection mechanism.
Mexico is ranked 127th in RSF’s 2022 Press Freedom Index.