Chiapas, the State with the Highest Rate of Aggression Against Journalists

by Yésica Morales

Chiapas Journalists

*Worldwide, 1,200 journalists have been killed between 2006 and 2020. However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) identified a 20% decrease in cases between 2016 and 2020. Among the findings. the Commission alerted the impunity in the cases, as 87% remain unpunished.

The Social Progress Index (IPS) 2015-2020, at the state level that produces “Mexico, how are we doing?,” reported that Chiapas occupies the last place in Access to Information and Communications, as it is the state with the highest rate of aggression against journalists.

This indicator defines whether people have free access to ideas and information from anywhere in the world, taking into account telecommunications indicators, its subcomponents are: cell phone users, households with computers, households with internet connection and rate of aggression against journalists.

Similar to the trend in other infrastructure components, it shows high and stable scores at national and state level, except for the lags present in Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

In 2020, the states with the highest scores were Mexico City, Sonora, Baja California, Nuevo Leon and Baja California Sur. On the other hand, those with the worst scores were Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Reporters demand guarantees of protection for their work Photo: Amapola

That said, on March 10, 2022, the European Parliament (EP) called on Mexican authorities to guarantee the protection and creation of a safe environment for journalists and human rights defenders.

This was due to a resolution approved with 607 votes in favor, 2 against and 73 abstentions, in which they highlighted that “Mexico has long been the most dangerous and deadly place for journalists outside an official war zone.”

Since the beginning of 2022 alone, seven journalists have been killed. For this reason, the MEPs stressed that the situation has deteriorated since the last presidential elections in July 2018. According to official sources, since that time, at least 47 people dedicated to that profession have been killed.

In addition to this is the endemic problem of impunity, as around 95% of the murders of journalists remain unpunished. For this reason, they noted with concern the harsh and systematic criticisms made by the highest authorities of the Mexican Government against journalists and their work.

Specifically, the EP referred to the populist rhetoric of President López Obrador in his daily press conferences to denigrate and intimidate independent journalists, media outlets owners and activists.

In that sense, they warned that the abuse and stigmatization generate an atmosphere of constant uneasiness against independent journalists. Therefore, they asked the authorities to refrain from any communication that could stigmatize media workers, as well as human rights defenders.

For its part, Article 19 made known the sum of 145 murders of journalists from 2000 to November 02, 2021; 11 women and 134 men; 25 in the current government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

At that time, they remembered and demanded justice for: Benjamín Morales Hernández, Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera, Saúl Tijerina Rentería, Ricardo López Domínguez, Jacinto Romero Flores, Fredy López Arévalo and Alfredo Cardoso Echeverría.


In Mexican territory, the violence of the State, which includes the presence of organized crime in collusion with governments at different levels, has caused zones of silence where there are no conditions in which to carry out our work. Journalists have been murdered, disappeared, threatened and forced to move out of their entities, said journalists in a protest against aggressions and deaths.

Deputies of the European parliament
Fredy López Arévalo was returning from a trip to Tuxtla when he was killed. (Photo: Twitter/@LenynReportero)

Case

The murder of journalist Freddy López Arévalo occurred on October 28, 2021. According to the first investigations, the victim arrived at his home in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in his car, coming from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, when he was attacked by a man who fired a gun.

López Arévalo had a long professional career in journalism since the 1980s and collaborated with various national and international media. He was currently managing the social media magazine “Jovel News,” through which he shared news related to political and security issues, among others.

This article was published in Chiapas Paralelo on June 7th, 2022. https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/06/chiapas-la-entidad-con-mayor-tasa-de-agresion-a-periodistas/ English interpretation by Schools for Chiapas.