Mexican Public Officials Lead Violence against Journalists: Report
EspañolMuch of the blame for violence against journalists in Mexico can be pinned to public officials, a new report finds.
The Mexican Ministry of Interior examined 265 cases since the start of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s time in office, finding that 95 officials were labeled “likely attackers” while 84 cases were tied to “individuals” and 83 to “unknown.”
According to the report, this same pattern applies in the case of activists dedicated to defending human rights. Public servants were to blame for 79 cases of aggression, while 76 remain unknown and 65 were connected to individuals in the private sector.
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“I will fight until the last day of my mandate to strengthen the conditions of the full exercise of journalism,” Secretary of Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said. The second part of his plan to protect journalists includes establishing a “National Coordination Scheme,” that will reduce risks for journalists and defenders of human rights.
Over the last 17 years, an estimated 126 journalists have been killed in Mexico, but the number of sentences issued in response is strikingly low — with only three being resolved, according to the country’s National Human Rights Commission.
The seriousness of the situation led United Nations High Commissioner Jan Jarab to make a public criticism.
“The investigation, prosecution and sentence for perpetrators would be the best prevention so that violence is not repeated,” he said.
During Peña Nieto’s administration, the Ministry of the Interior has rejected 84 requests from journalists and activists to enter a Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists; so far, 405 petitions have been filed.
According to Undersecretary of Human Rights Roberto Campa, all cases are evaluated by a Risk Unit, which is made up of specialists trained by the Freedom House organization.
“When it’s determined that there are no elements to dictate the measures, the request is rejected” Campa said.
“When there have been cases of judicial harassment, such as the demands of politicians against journalists, the Risk Unit believes that it’s not necessary to grant measures because they do not see a physical risk factor. What we have said is that these type of acts are an inhibitor to the work of journalists and must have a space within the mechanism,” said Leopoldo Maldonado, a lawyer with the organization Artículo 19.
Source: Animal Político