Organizations defending the rights of journalists pointed out that persistent attacks against the media by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and other authorities, create polarization, hostility, and push violence.
Christopher Barnes, president of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), affirmed that López Obrador’s attacks come in a form “Periodic, constant, and systematic” against the media and journalists, and that they are a “Incitement to violence”.
Through a statement, the IAPA president said that journalism is open to criticism, but what the “authoritarian, ideological, and derogatory bias” used may instigate physical assaults.
Stigmatization and signs towards the press it is also against international publications how The Washington Post, The country, and The Financial Timessaid Roberto Rock, president of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.
“What is extremely dangerous is the stubbornness of the president against the press, even during the COVID-19 health crisis that affects the country and requires the highest concentration of the Head of StateRock stated.
At morning press conferences, the president constantly launches smear campaigns in national media, especially to newspapers Reform and The universalwhom he has described as “Yellow, corrupt, alarmist, slanderous, and opposition”, reported the IAPA.
Jan Albert Hootsen, representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ, for its acronym in English), noted that the relationship between the federal government in Mexico and the media is “Quite complex” nationally and locally. “The most extreme case is the complex relationship of rhetorical attacks, of open hostility between the federal government and the media, which could lead (…) to serious threats”, said.
The CPJ representative emphasized that the president has never used force or threatened the media, but cultivated rhetoric since the conferences made from the National Palace in Mexico City.
But the moment we say that it is nothing more than rhetoric, we see that a division is created between what is the citizenry, the media, and the government, which could result in a climate of threats, of harassment. We see how many journalists, who have a presence on social networks, have been the target of violence, harassment, and threats with quite adverse language, this online, Hootsen said
He also mentioned that it is worrying that, in the context of impunity and insecurity in Mexico, the most dangerous and deadly country to practice journalism in the western hemisphere, the government has a rhetoric of hostility and polarization against the press.
While the president, a federal government official, You have the right to express yourself like any citizen“The President of the Republic is not just any citizen, he is the president of all Mexicans, not just some. When he says that a medium lies, it must do so with arguments“He added.
For his part, Barnes, IAPA President, stated that “In a country with high rates of violence, the presidential attitude is like throwing gasoline on the fire”. He recalled that on May 13 the newspaper Reform he received threats of a bombing if his criticisms against López Obrador did not cease.
Hootsen argued that the media they are a counterweight: their function is not to attack or support the government.
José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, described the president’s comments as “Unfortunate” due to the stigmatization they cause.
“It has become standard practice for the President of Mexico to try to discredit the independent media. It is perfectly reasonable that he has a different view or disagrees with what the media, national or international, inform and can perfectly use the presidential rostrum or morning press conferences to put their point of view and disagree with the information circulating in the media about their government, “he declared.
Vivanco pointed out that disqualifications towards the media do not allow the promotion of a constructive democratic debate, and that in an open and democratic society the media and the general public “form an opinion on any issue of national relevance on the basis of contradiction of ideas and public debate, but not on the basis of disqualification“
“It seems to me that the president, with his conduct, what he does is impoverish the debateIn the sense that anyone who publishes a story that he does not like and does not share becomes a kind of enemy, someone who is deliberately misrepresenting the facts, I get the impression that makes democratic governance more difficult in Mexico“, Indicated.
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