Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends the anniversary of the death of a former president in Mexico City on February 23, 2022. CPJ called on the European Union to strengthen its criticism of the deterioration of press freedom in Mexico. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

European Parliament speaks out on violence against journalists in Mexico

Brussels, March 10, 2022 — The European Union must strengthen its criticism of the deterioration of press freedom in Mexico and ensure that Mexican authorities guarantee immediate resourcing and funding of their protection program for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday. 

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday, March 10, that condemns the killings of journalists in Mexico, providing a blueprint for further scrutiny of the situation by the EU.

In 2022, six Mexican journalists have been killed and two others have survived attacks. The Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, set up by Mexican authorities in 2012 to provide protection measures for at-risk journalists, has been poorly resourced and staffed, as CPJ documented. While debating the passing of the resolution, members of the European Parliament called out Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his verbal attacks on the press. 

“Mexican journalists are calling for change, and the European Parliament has today supported them in their calls,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative, from Mexico City. “At best, President López Obrador has consistently shown that press freedom is not a priority for him, and at worse he has openly vilified journalists. This resolution must be now part of a concerted move for change, with the EU working in solidarity with journalists on the ground.”

During the debate, Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová noted that although the Federal Mechanism was an “interesting model,” there is a need for more comprehensive efforts to provide effective local protection and address the violence in Mexico.

An EU-Mexico Global Agreement, which regulates the conditions for trade and investment between the two sides and includes clauses on the protection of human rights, is currently being modernized.

“If the EU cannot stem the rise in violence against journalists by holding the Mexican authorities to account for human rights provisions of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement, then it must think about how it can improve its leverage,” said Tom Gibson, CPJ’s EU representative. “Journalists are being killed, and the EU cannot afford to brush this under the carpet.”