Mexico and the world need the free press

In the last decade, dozens of journalists have been murdered in Mexico

Mexico and the world need the free press
Several president have launched attacks against the free press – Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP
English 12/09/2019 09:25 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:33
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The current times are not easy for the press all over the world. The electoral win of nationalist and populist governments in several countries has become an obstacle for the free exercise of their activities. The clearest example is the relationship between President Trump and the U.S. press. All the information that questions the performance of the Trump administration is automatically labeled as “fake news.” There is no open discussion, only immediate disqualification.

But this situation is not exclusive to the U.S. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán considers that the press is an enemy and has obstructed critical and independent news outlets and on the contrary, he has shown support for a group of media outlets that praise him. The Russian government led by Vladimir Putin is also part of the list of countries where news outlets are oppressed, as well as controlling the internet.

Latin America is no exception. In March, Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, used his Twitter account to intimidate media outlets by leaking the name, pictures, and voice of a journalist who he accused of making a statement in regards to the need of launching a campaign to depose him but it turned out the accusations were false. In Venezuela, there is a permanent attack against the media outlets that criticize the Nicolás Maduro regime.

In Mexico, the main threat against media outlets and its workers come from organized crime. For years, the country has registered one of the highest number of journalists murdered in the world.

Also, journalists have been stigmatized by the political elite when they publish information that presents a different view. In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the head of the Inter-American Press Society (SIP), María Elvira Domínguez Lloreda, says that there can be criticism “but one thing is to criticize and disagree and another is to stigmatize them” by calling them enemies, opposition, or “high-brow press.” An international SIP delegation is in Mexico to monitor the defense of the freedom of expression and the threats against journalists.

When a president criticizes the press in Mexico, the U.S., Hungary, or Brazil, it is made from the highest position, one that should be used to fight for freedom of expression, not condemn it.

No country should have only one voice. The diversity of opinions could stop attempts to concentrate power and improves democracy.


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