- At least five Mexican journalists were murdered in 2020.
- Mexican drug cartels regularly target journalists.
- Journalist Ruhollah Zam was executed in Iran earlier this month.
Mexico currently tops the list of the world’s most perilous countries for journalists. This is according to a new report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It brings to light the austerities faced by journalists worldwide. At least five Mexican journalists were murdered this year.
Four of them were targeted for their investigative work. In all, just over 30 journalists were executed this year, and 21 of the victims were taken out due to their work.
As highlighted in the published document, Afghanistan, Mexico, and the Philippines currently have the highest number of retaliatory attacks against reporters.
That said, fewer combat-related murders were reported this year compared to other years over the past decade. This is largely due to the coronavirus triggering travel restrictions across the globe. They prevented access to some of the world’s most treacherous reporting zones.
The Mexican Government Isn’t Doing Enough
The latest CPJ report has accused the Mexican government of failing to protect journalists from discrimination and targeted assassinations. As underlined in the document, the bulk of the executions are carried out by drug gangs.
Journalists are usually in the frontline when it comes to exposing the cartels and corrupt Mexican officials, and this makes them more vulnerable to cartel violence. The fact that some corrupt officials have access to sophisticated spyware tools used by the state to eavesdrop on its citizenry worsens the situation.
Many journalists are attacked for their views and efforts aimed at combatting corruption. The CPJ has underlined the level of impunity portrayed by the Mexican administration when it comes to prosecuting the perpetrators of crimes against people in the profession. According to current statistics, the murderers are in most cases never apprehended.
Subsequently, the CPJ has accused Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of deliberately waging war against journalists and the media. The following is an excerpt from the report on this.
“López Obrador has only rarely engaged with CPJ and other press freedom and civil society organizations, and has denigrated Mexico’s media in his daily early-morning press conferences, taking a page from the playbook of U.S. President Donald Trump—an attitude viewed with dismay by the country’s journalist community in light of the dangers they face.”
In other parts of the world, the number of journalists, incarcerations, and public executions continue to rise. Most recently, Iran executed dissident journalist, Ruhollah Zam, 47. He was captured last year by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq and repatriated to Iran to face trial.
He was executed earlier this month without his family or associates being notified, a move that prompted a response from Amnesty International. According to the human rights organization, the move was in total disregard of human rights.
“The authorities rushed to execute Ruhollah Zam in what we believe was a reprehensible bid to avoid an international campaign to save his life,” Diana Eltahawy, the organization’s Middle East deputy director said.