Mexico City, December 16, 2022 – Mexican authorities should immediately investigate the shooting attack on journalist Ciro Gómez Leyva and guarantee his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.
Late Thursday evening, two unidentified attackers on a motorcycle shot at Gómez Leyva while he was driving near his Mexico City home and then fled the scene, according to news reports and tweets by the journalist shortly after the attack.
Gómez Leyva, a well-known TV journalist who hosts the Por la Mañana morning radio show on Grupo Fórmula and a primetime TV news show on Grupo Imagen, tweeted photos of his vehicle with several bullet holes and said he was unharmed thanks to bulletproofing armor on his car.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed his support for Gómez Leyva during his daily press briefing on Friday morning. However, on Wednesday, López Obrador criticized Gómez Leyva by name, saying that listening to him and other critical journalists was “harmful and causes tumors in the brain.”
“Mexico ends a deadly year for the press with a shocking and brazen attack on Ciro Gómez Leyva, one of its most well-known news anchors, underscoring that even in Mexico City, journalists are not safe,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative. “Authorities must ensure that Gómez Leyva and his team are safe and his attackers are brought to justice, lest this cycle of violence and impunity continue.”
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Twitter that her administration would provide Gómez Leyva with protection, and the city’s police chief, Omar García Harfuch, tweeted that his office would “detain whoever is responsible.” CPJ called Sheinbaum and Harfuch for comment, but did not receive any replies.
In his Grupo Fórmula broadcast Friday morning, Gómez Leyva said that the attack “was not a robbery and evidently not an abduction attempt, everything points at that someone wanted to kill me.”
“I don’t know who it was, no one has threatened me, I’m not in any fights with neighbors, I don’t have a debt I didn’t pay and, beyond what we discuss in here in the program, I have not argued with anyone,” he said in that broadcast.
Tobyanne Ledesma, head of the Mexico City Integral Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, a state government institution that provides security to reporters and rights defenders, told CPJ via messaging app that authorities had spoken with Gómez Leyva and were considering which measures to take to protect him.
On his news broadcasts, Gómez Leyva covers a wide range of topics, including politics, crime, security, and economics. In his most recent broadcasts, he covered a proposal debated in the Mexican legislature to reform the National Electoral Institute and infighting in López Obrador’s political coalition.
Gómez Leyva previously worked for the newspapers El Financiero and Reforma, and the magazine Expansión in the 1980s and 1990s, among others.
CPJ contacted Gómez Leyva’s production team at Grupo Fórmula Friday morning via messaging app for comment, but did not receive any reply.
According to CPJ data, at least three reporters were killed in direct relation to their work in Mexico this year. CPJ is investigating the killings of 10 other reporters this year to determine the motive.