Skip to main content

Pressfreedom in Mexico means living with impunity

By 3 mayo, 2017 Sin Comentarios Commitee to Protect JournalistsIt is a feeling of frustration that stays with you. Current affairs in Mexico today are dominated by two prevalent issues: corruption and impunity. Every story, breaking news or media report originates from these two issues. And to practice journalism here means to work in a climate of corruption and impunity. This is not fiction. It’s the essence of the country. 

Those who investigate corruption and impunity risk losing their sense of comfort or, worse, their lives. And after their murders, an incomplete file is the most likely end to an investigation into their deaths. Once more, corruption and impunity.

This is not a play on words. It is not nonsense. It is the sad and deadly reality of Mexico: a byproduct of the absence of the rule of law.

Being a journalist in Mexico means learning to live in the shadow of impunity: the impunity you investigate and report on, and the impunity experienced firsthand. The messenger risks being a victim of the story he or she investigates, at times at the hands of government officials, police commanders, common criminals, and drug traffickers who go unpunished.

Five  journalists have been killed in Mexico this year, one of them is Marcos Hernández Bautista, a reporter for the daily Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca, was shot in the head with a 9mm pistol as he climbed into his car in the state of Oaxaca.

Marcos Hernández Bautista: the rebel reporter

Marcos Hernández Bautista usually brushed off death threats. But in January 2016, the reporter who regularly covered government corruption in towns near the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state in southern Mexico, received several menacing phone calls that seemed more serious and left him fearing for his life, said his editor, María de los Ángeles Velasco.

“I told him to get out of there immediately,” Velasco, chief of correspondents at Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca, a daily in the city of Oaxaca, told CPJ. “I said, ‘Come here to Oaxaca and we will hide you. We will help you.’”

It is unclear if Hernández, who was also a left-wing activist and culture secretary in his hometown of Santiago Jamiltepec, considered fleeing. On January 21, 2016, two days after speaking with Velasco, the 38-year-old reporter was fatally shot in the head.

A former police chief of Santiago Jamiltepec was convicted and sentenced in March 2017 to 30 years in prison for the shooting. But, like most homicides involving journalists in Mexico, whoever ordered the killing has not been detained and more than a year later the Hernández case has yet to be fully solved.

Read the full story:

No Excuse (CPJ Commitee to Protect Journalists)

Covering corruption in Mexico means living with impunity (CPJ Commitee to Protect Journalists)

Read more:

Another Mexico Journalist Killed Ahead of Press Freedom Day (TeleSur)

Marcos Hernández Bautista (CPJ Commitee to Protect Journalists)

Mexico: Impunity for journalist murders (Video – Article 19)