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Press under siege

OPINION: The situation of insecurity that journalists live in Mexico is not really new. At least, in the last 17 years, since the beginning of the millennium, the risks for those practicing the profession have intensified
Roberto Campa Cifrián - Photo: Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
19/06/2017
10:30
Mexico City
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The situation of insecurity that journalists live in Mexico is not really new. At least, in the last 17 years, since the beginning of the millennium, the risks for those practicing the profession have intensified. More than 100 reporters have died in that period and there have been several attacks on journalistic facilities.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the Undersecretary of Interior for Human Rights, Roberto Campa Cifrián, says that this is not the worst moment and that there were more journalists who lost their lives during the first four years of the last administration compared to this one.

Should any new aggression occur, will we continue to know about press attacks during previous governments instead of the protective actions being taken? In the diagnosis made by the official on the insecurity of journalists, there are at least two disturbing but very well-known facts that influence the wave of attacks: there is no trust in the official mechanism for protecting journalists and impunity.

The Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists was not informed, for example, of the threats that Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdéz were subjected to before being assassinated. It is required that the guild knows and trusts that instance in order to receive security, despite the fact that the Mechanism's data indicate that 40% of the aggressions come from agents of the State, which, they confess, causes the lack of confidence.

The impunity that prevails in crimes against journalists - as well as a large percentage of crimes committed in the country - is another reason for the continuing attacks against the press. The hostile environment for journalism is likely to change when the prosecution offices of justice deliver results to society that punish those who have committed any crime. If the offender does not receive any punishment whatsoever, the insecurity will hardly disappear.

With the objective of providing a greater security climate (both journalists and society in general), it is pointless to say that during previous governments the number of crimes was equal to or greater than the current one. It would be more convenient to know about the actions being taken to protect the guild as well as the citizens.

The authority should pay particular attention to guaranteeing freedom of expression, a fundamental part of any democratic country before it is too late.

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