A group of journalists gathered in front of the headquarters of the government entity after the murder of the director of the online portal ‘Lo Real de Guerrero’, Nelson Matus. This is the fifth violent death so far in 2023. Last year, Reporters Without Borders listed Mexico as the most dangerous nation to practice the profession despite not having an ongoing conflict. The European Union also condemned violence against journalists in the country.
Mexico adds one more death to the list of assassinated communicators. This Sunday, a group of journalists from different media gathered in front of the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) in the state of Guerrero, in the south of the country.
The reason for the protestIt was the murder of the director of the outlet ‘Lo Real de Guerrero’, Nelson Matus. In addition, the protesters sought to raise their voices about the threats that hang over Mexican communicators. In front of the headquarters of the Prosecutor’s Office, they placed signs that marked a common word: “Justice.”
In parallel, they demanded an end to the criminalization of the journalistic work of those who work in the so-called “red notes”, a kind of column that recounts police operations and that speaks explicitly of crime. One of them, Ernesto Alonso, stated that the accusations against them make them work in fear.
Alonso called on the union to stay together in times that he describes as “complicated.” He also denounced that they want to turn the area of Acapulco, belonging to Guerrero, into a silenced area, just as they have been —according to the journalist— Iguala, Chilapa and Taxco.
For her part, the photojournalist for the newspaper ‘El Sur’, Jessica Torres, recalled that it was not easy to carry out her work amid the disturbances of order in Chilpancingo, some for which the Government of Mexico blames the criminal group ‘Los Ardillos’ . According to the photographer, their work had been interrupted to such an extent that they could not enter individually, but instead accompanied by other colleagues.
Union of journalists rejects violence
The National Union of Press Writers (SNRP), represented by its general secretary, Abel Miranda, demanded that the FGR assume responsibility and put a stop to impunity. The fact that the culprits are not prosecuted, according to Miranda, results in more crimes being committed against communicators.
The demands are also addressed to the central government, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the state and local (Acapulco). They also consist of the implementation of necessary actions to reach the perpetrators of the attacks against the press and achieve a strict punishment within the framework of the law.
#Mexico The journalist and director of @real_guerrero Nelson Matus was murdered yesterday in Acapulco, 1 week after his colleague Luis Martín Sánchez. RSF calls on the authorities 🇲🇽 to react once and for all to the wave of violence against the press that is hitting the country like a tsunami. pic.twitter.com/9iYHCP8wEo
— RSF in Spanish (@RSF_esp) July 16, 2023
The Union affirms that with the murder of Matus there are already three attacks in two months on several local communicators. Miranda also referred to the so-called zones of silence, alleging that “journalistic activity cannot be carried out due to threats from organized crime.” And he added: “It is evident that criminal structures act in close coordination with authorities from the three levels of government.”.
The general secretary of the SNRP provided an alarming piece of information. According to the organizationArticle 19‘ —which defends and promotes, according to its website, “the progressive advancement of rights to freedom of expression and access to information”— They have murdered more than 160 communicators since 2006, when he began to keep statistics on the subject. 10% of these reported crimes were located in Guerrero.
The European Union condemns murders of journalists
The murder of another communication professional, Luis Martín Sánchez, correspondent for the newspaper ‘La Jornada’, led the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Norway to denounce the violence that threatens journalists in Mexico. In a release published on July 12, the community block described the situation as a threat against human rights.
The EU called on the Mexican authorities to create favorable and protective environments so that journalists can carry out their work and to avoid zones of silence, where no one dares to work. The call for attention comes in the midst of a favorable context in which fewer cases of aggression have been reported so far in 2023 compared to other periods.
In 2022, the Reporters Without Borders organization declared Mexico the most dangerous nation to practice journalism, despite being a country “at peace.” The country concentrated 13 murders of journalists, 20% of the cases worldwide.