Mexico continues under a spiral of violence that has the press in the spotlight. In 2020, at least eight journalists have been killed in a country that has become the most lethal in the world for the exercise of the profession, according to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report presented this Tuesday, which includes the violent death of 50 journalists this year (up from 53 in 2019) across the globe. A large majority (68%) worked in theoretically peaceful countries. The organization that watches over press freedom observes a decrease in crimes in war zones, partly because reporters have stopped witnessing war conflicts, and partly also because news coverage has been reduced due to the impact of the covid-19 epidemic.
Differentiating features of this year are the violence exerted on local media informants and the cruel cruelty of which journalists have been victims. Julio Valdivia, newspaper reporter The World of Córdoba was found beheaded in Veracruz and his colleague Víctor Fernández, from the digital medium Point x Point News, was dismembered in Acapulco. Reporter María Elena Ferral was shot eight times when she was leaving a notary’s office. She was a correspondent for several local newspapers and founder of the news portal Fifth Estate from Veracruz. He investigated kidnappings and enforced disappearances, often attributed to the police. In 2016, he denounced several times before the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists of Veracruz (CEAPP) that he had received intimidation and threats from politicians in the region.
The latest crime against the Mexican press occurred three weeks ago in Zacatecas, where Jaime Daniel Castaño, director of the online news portal, was murdered. PressLibreMx, when he was on his way to cover an event for the City Council. He died for taking photographs of two men who had just been killed and refusing to destroy the snapshots. For the director of RSF’s office in Latin America, Emmanuel Colombié, the violence suffered by the Mexican press “is appalling.” This entity has appealed to local and federal authorities to become aware of “the situation of extreme vulnerability in which journalists find themselves and to do what is necessary to guarantee their safety in the region and in the country.” In turn, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) regrets the lack of support for journalists by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “He promised to take concrete measures to end violence against the press and immunity for the murder of journalists. However, this cycle continues unchanged “, denounces the organization, aware that in the vast majority of murder cases,” no accused has been convicted and the intellectual authors remain free. ” In this line, the president of RSF-Spain, Alfonso Armada, who has criticized the passivity of the Mexican president, has influenced this Tuesday. “We have not seen any progress in his promises of a change of course regarding the protection of journalism and the prosecution of crimes against journalists. On the contrary, impunity is still the law ”.
In addition to Mexico, the countries with the highest number of murders are India, Pakistan (four in each case), the Philippines and Honduras (three in each state). Of all journalists killed in 2020, 84% were deliberately targeted and eliminated, up from 63% in 2019. The proportion drops to 32% in areas devastated by war (Syria, Yemen) or dotted with entrenched conflict (Afghanistan , Iraq). The most dangerous coverage continues to be investigations into cases of local corruption, misuse of public funds, the mafia, organized crime, and coverage of social and political protests. In Colombia, a reporter from a community media was shot dead while reporting on a demonstration by indigenous communities protesting against the privatization of land in their region.
In India, which claims to be the largest democracy in the world, heinous crimes have been recorded. Journalist Rakesh Singh, from the daily Rashtriya Swaroop, he was burned alive after being sprayed with highly flammable hydroalcoholic gel, while journalist Isravel Moses, a correspondent for a television channel, was hacked to death with machetes. In Iran, according to RSF, the executioner is the state. Ruhollah Zam, Canal Administrator Amadnews of Telegram and sentenced to death after an unfair trial, he was executed by hanging two weeks ago. Considered the Iranian Khashoggi, was a refugee in France and was captured after a meticulous deception operation.
“The violence of the world continues to plague journalists,” says RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire. “A part of the public considers that journalists are victims of the risks of their profession, but they are increasingly being attacked when they investigate or report on sensitive topics. What has been weakened is the right to information, which is a right of all human beings ”. The organization has 387 imprisoned journalists in the world, of which more than half are concentrated in five countries: China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Syria. RSF highlights the increase in imprisoned journalists. At the end of this year, 42 informants were deprived of liberty. And he notes that the repression of the press has intensified between the months of March and May, coinciding with the advance of the coronavirus pandemic.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.