The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, assured on Monday 4 July that the 12 recent violent deaths of journalists in the line of duty “won’t make (the Mexican press’) bank account explode.” The president made this statement in response to the words of Fernando de Yarza , President of Henneo and WAN-IFRA, who has qualified these murders as “inadmissible” in an interview in the newspaper El Universal.

The Mexican president rejected the words of the WAN-IFRA president at a press conference held at the National Palace. López Obrador stated that “this type of association (referring to WAN-IFRA) appears when they do not like a government or it does not suit them .”

And he took the opportunity to charge against the association chaired by Yarza and assured: “it protects the media in Mexico that are upset because they no longer receive subsidies or the advertising money that was given to them. But this is how it is, it is not to make one’s bank account explode “.

Yarza has just returned from Latin America, where he has visited several countries to prepare for the World News Media Congress to be held in September in Zaragoza. The President of WAN-IFRA has defended the journalistic values ​​of rigour and transparency, as well as has analyzed the current digital convergence and the threats that journalists face today. In the interview with the Mexican newspaper El Universal , Yarza expressed his concern about the attacks on the press in Mexico and recalled that twelve journalists have been murdered in the exercise of their profession in the last year. ” I think it is worrying, probably the result of a polarized world, and these attacks are unaffordable. The number of journalists who have died in Mexico is something that cannot be accepted, and there must be explicit support from the authorities for the journalistic profession,” said Yarza.

Fernando de Yarza urges ending impunity for violent acts and calls on a “real political will to solve the problem”

journalist murders

Just ten days ago, 47-year-old journalist Antonio de la Cruz was shot dead in the city of Tamaulipas, while his daughter died just days later after being wounded in the same shooting. Recently, journalist Ana Mendoza also suffered an attack in Jalisco, something to which Obrador downplayed, assuring that the media’s criticism of the defencelessness of professionals “is more of the same”. The Mexican president continued his speech by criticising that media such as The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal covered police officer Genaro García Luna – accused of receiving bribes. He also affirmed that the international press should urge for a pardon to be granted to Julian Assange.

The World Association of nd News Publishers recalls that it has denounced not only the present Mexican government but all those in which the rights and protection of the profession are not sufficiently protected. In the last decade, also during the mandate of Enrique Peña Nieto, the reports published by WAN-IFRA have pointed out that freedom of the press in Mexico was going through challenging times. In particular, the reports highlighted the “information blackout” experienced in some regions and also because criminal organisations try to control the flow of information through armed attacks against the media, murders of journalists, threats and disappearances. In recent years, it has also become evident that the authorities have been spying on journalists and human rights defenders. The association has asked repeatedly for an end to impunity for violent acts and a “real political will to solve the problem”, given the importance of journalism in advancing toward a freer and more egalitarian society.

These and other issues – such as the “dysfunction” of the anonymity of the networks, which Yarza also exposed in his interview – will be matters of analysis at the next WAN-IFRA annual meeting, to be held in the Aragonese capital and to which they will attend in Around a thousand professionals from more than 80 countries. This world congress has been held annually since 1948, and in its 73rd edition it will have the honorary presidency of King Felipe VI.

This article was originally published in Spanish by 20minutos on 5 July 2022.

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