Mexico City, June 18, 2019–Journalists, policy makers, and human rights experts gathered today at a press freedom summit in Mexico City, hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The event centered on the press freedom crisis in Mexico, which is the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere and the deadliest in the world thus far in 2019. Experts also highlighted emerging threats to press freedom in Mexico and the Americas.
The event, attended by 350 people, focused on impunity for journalist murders in Mexico, the relationship between the media and the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and press freedom in the region. Speakers included investigative journalist Anabel Hernández, congressional representative Tatiana Clouthier, and Daniel Moreno, the director of news site Animal Político. Alejandro Encinas, Mexico’s subsecretary for human rights, and Jesús Cantú, the head of information and social communications for the office of the Mexican presidency, also participated in panels.
“Let me be clear: The level of violence and impunity against Mexican journalists represents a crisis for this country, and a direct threat to Mexico’s democracy,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director, in prepared remarks. He later added, “I believe that the president has an historic opportunity to transform the relationship between the media and power and to address the issue of impunity and violence against the press. But the opportunity is fleeting.”
The summit comes during a particularly challenging period for journalists in Mexico, with more journalists killed in Mexico in 2019 than in any other country. Mexico also has the highest number of missing journalists globally, with 14 cases. Along with physical threats, journalists and their families have faced targeted surveillance and news outlets have encountered cyberattacks.
The event came together with the help of an organizing committee made up of CPJ, Zeta Tijuana general director Adela Navarro Bello, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19-Office for Mexico and Central America, and R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales.