Photo Credit: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
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The United States of America has always been known for protecting the freedom of the press, hence it is the first amendment. However, in many countries, journalism is a dangerous job where journalists should be protected, and not be killed for telling the truth, despite how ugly the truth may be.
It is sad to see that one border away, the protection of journalists does not exist and the Mexican government does not do anything in order to change that. Mexico has been facing adversity regarding the protection of journalists and the freedom of the press for a while now. According to NBC News,“148 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. At least 28 of them have died during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and four journalists were killed in January.”
Journalists in Mexico need more protection and should be able to do their job without the fear that they will be threatened, assaulted or killed. The Mexican government needs to create laws in order to protect journalists. Lourdes Maldonado, one of the most recent journalists who was shot and killed in Tijuana, had previously contacted the Mexican president in 2019 where she told López Obrador that she “feared for her life.” What did he do with this information? Nothing. There were so many things that could have been done by the president in order to protect Maldonado, along with the rest of the journalists that have been killed. How can a president not protect one of the most fundamental industries in their country- journalism.
Obrador has not addressed his support or the dangers towards journalists, but “instead of addressing these dangers, Obrador devoted much of his regular news conference on Friday to attacking one of the country’s most prominent media figures, Carlos Loret de Mola,” according to The Washington Post. It seems as if the president of Mexico or the Mexican government wants journalists to be biased and pick his side, however, that is not a journalist’s job.
Moises Sánchez, another journalist who was killed for exposing the truth, ran a small newspaper known as La Union where he “often clashed with local authorities,” said his son, Jorge Sánchez, in an interview with NPR. “Moises Sánchez published a report linking the mayor to organized crime in late 2014 threatening calls and messages poured in. On Jan. 5, 2015, masked armed men burst into their home and kidnapped him. His body was found 20 days later.” There should not be “another journalist found dead in Mexico,” there should be “another journalist is protected by Mexico, or “another journalist is rewarded for exposing corruption.” Journalists should not have to risk and fear for their lives, simply because criminals or other people don’t want to be exposed. “Journalists who cover sensitive political stories or crime, especially at the local level, are warned, threatened and then often gunned down in cold blood,” according to Reporters without Borders. Journalists should be able to have freedom of speech and not worry if that is going to be their last day. It is unbelievable the extremes journalists have to undergo, for example, “in some regions journalists have become so fearful of being abducted and killed that they take DIY dental impressions and leave them in the freezer at home before going out to report so relatives can identify their remains,” according to The Guardian.
The lack of punishment is one of the main reasons why journalists don’t get proper justice. Those criminals who have killed journalists get away with their murder and simply keep on going to the next without remorse and punishment. The Mexican government is just as guilty, due to the fact they don’t do anything to better the situation, but instead, they make it easier to keep a journalist quiet when they should be supportive and proud of their journalists. The freedom of punishment should not happen in any country, a criminal should pay for their actions, and not be taken lightly. How far does the situation need to go in order for the Mexican government to do something? How long does it have to take in order for the Mexican government to choose truth?
You can’t kill the truth by killing a journalist.