Surprising Mexican President's visit to the US has led to international pressure on journalists' deaths

Surprising Mexican President's visit to the US has led to international pressure on journalists' deaths - US senators used Mexican Presidents Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Joe Biden this week to increase pressure on the killing of journalists in the Latino.

Surprising Mexican President's visit to the US has led to international pressure on journalists' deathsUS senators used Mexican Presidents Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Joe Biden this week to increase pressure on the killing of journalists in the Latino.

In 6 months, 12 media professionals were killed in Mexico, a number that more than exceeds the number of journalists killed during the war in Ukraine. In the latest recorded raid, reporter Susana Carreño survived after being stabbed by an unknown person earlier this month.

Deadly violence against the press in Mexico is taking a toll on the US Hispanic community and has pressured congressional politicians to demand López Obrador increase security for Mexican officials.

US lawmakers defend protection for journalists

The Mexican president's visit was preceded by strong statements against US action on the issue of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The following week, López Obradorsuggested destroying the Statue of Liberty if the Australian journalist was arrested and died in an American prison.

The meeting with Joe Biden, however, had a more welcoming tone than the Mexican's speech when it was in his country.

“Happy to sit down with President López Obrador and discuss the broad and deep partnership between our countries,” the American posted on social media after the meeting.

While diplomatic matters were handled in a friendly manner, a group of 10 senators took the opportunity to come up with a resolution calling for the protection of Mexican journalists.

Signed by Bob Menendez, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Team Kaine, chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and eight other Democratic senators, the document calls on the Mexican government for a "universal and impartial investigation" into violence against journalists.

"In recent years, Mexico has become the most risky country in the world outside of a war zone for journalists," Menéndez said in a statement.

"With 12 Mexican journalists killed in the first 6 months of 2022, pressure action is needed to end hostilities against press freedom."

Lawmakers condemned "unchanged large-scale violence" against Mexican media outlets and stressed that the government must help local and state entities to protect them.

"Freedom of the press must always be the cornerstone of all democratic countries, including Mexico," said Senator Kaine. "In essence, this resolution underscores the pressing need to protect journalists who risk their lives to tell the truth."

Mexico's federal and state governments have been criticized by the press and international organizations for failing to prevent killing media professionals or carrying out sufficient investigations to identify those responsible for the crimes.

In the latest Global Press Freedom Rankings by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the country is ranked 127th out of 180 countries surveyed, and increasing violence makes Mexico a very lethal country for journalists.

President Lopéz Obrador adopted harsh speeches against the press in his public demonstrations, especially when there was some criticism of his government or members of his family. Among the frequent insults are accusations that the media are defending interest groups and that journalists are mercenaries.

During a dialogue about Assange a week later, for example, the Mexican leader was confronted with information about the death of a journalist in that country.

In Mexico, journalists react to each death with the fear of being next

With violence continuing to spiral out of control in Mexico, media outlets are terrified.

In a post for Nieman Lab, award-winning journalist Marcela Turati, who has been closely monitoring the invasion of her colleagues in the country, describes what it's like to live in the shadows of being the next victim.

"It doesn't matter whether the journalists understand the victim or not. Each murder rekindles feelings of worry, terror, hopelessness, anger and sadness that have accumulated over time," he wrote.

For Marcela, for the past 20 years, Mexican journalists have challenged the idea that they could die "just to do their job", when investigating topics that cross the interests of third parties.

Citing information from the NGO Artigo 19, the journalist said that 150 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000—and many of them fall within the government's protection programme. Twenty-nine have also disappeared in the last 2 decades.

He contextualized that violence against media professionals increased in 2006, when the president at the time introduced a policy of “war on drugs”.

"Since then, Mexican journalists have become war correspondents in our own country," he said. And he added that most of the victims were local journalists, from areas far from the Mexican capital and covering police, organized crime and political corruption.

In recent raid, journalist stabbed in Mexico

The most recent recorded attack in the country by groups monitoring global journalism was against Mexican reporter Susana Carreño, of UDG radio, a station affiliated with the University of Guadalajara.

On July 1, the car he was driving with his colleague from the radio station was hit by another vehicle.

2 men approached the position of the motorcycle accident, lashed out at the journalist with a gun, forced him out of the car and lay down in the lane. During that time, he was stabbed several times, leaving him with serious injuries to his chest and neck.

Susana survived the attack and is still recovering. The governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, described the action as a robbery and, so far, it has not been determined whether it was a specific crime or whether it was directed at journalists.

But, for UDG director Gabriel Torres, the action was intentional. Susana recently briefed on allegations of corruption and illegal work in the field of crime, Torres told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

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