When Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas arrived in New York City in November 2011 to accept CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, he and his staff had already suffered a grenade attack on the offices of their weekly, Ríodoce. Weeks after receiving the award, they were the victims of a denial of service (DOS) attack that would take the publication's website offline for days. The death threats against Javier in reprisal for his reporting on organized crime and corruption continued until his brutal murder today in his home city of Culiacán, but he refused a life in exile or a life without journalism. "To die," he said in an interview with CPJ, "would be to stop writing."
Mexico City, May 4, 2017-- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today pledged to prioritize combating impunity in the murders of journalists for the remainder of his term, which ends next year. He said the safety and protection of journalists would also be a priority.
Mexico’s press is caught in a deadly cycle of violence and impunity, with journalists in Veracruz state at particular risk of kidnap and murder. Despite authorities appointing a special prosecutor to investigate crimes against freedom of expression and establishing a protection mechanism for journalists, a lack of political will to end impunity exposes Mexico as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Published May 3, 2017
By Adela Navarro Bello
It is a feeling of frustration that stays with you. Current affairs in Mexico today are dominated by two prevalent issues: corruption and impunity. Every story, breaking news or media report originates from these two issues. And to practice journalism here means to work in a climate of corruption and impunity. This is not fiction. It’s the essence of the country.
By Carlos Lauría
Violence tied to drug trafficking and organized crime has made Mexico one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press. Since 2010, CPJ has documented more than 50 cases of journalists and media workers killed or disappeared. But in nearly every case of a journalist murdered in direct retaliation for their work, justice remains elusive and impunity continues to be the norm.
As he was dragged from his home and into a waiting car, José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo pleaded with his attackers, “Please don’t hurt my family.” His wife, who at the time was embracing her two young grandsons, could only gaze in horror as Sánchez, the 49-year-old editor of La Unión, was driven away. It was the last time his family saw him alive.
Marcos Hernández Bautista usually brushed off death threats. But in January 2016, the reporter who regularly covered government corruption in towns near the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state in southern Mexico, received several menacing phone calls that seemed more serious and left him fearing for his life, said his editor, María de los Ángeles Velasco.
Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz was not a journalist who went looking for danger. But living and working in a small town in Veracruz state—mired by gang warfare, human trafficking, and a lucrative trade in kidnap for ransom—meant he covered stories that could put in him danger.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.