Mexican journalists protest, urge president to stop violence against press

Journalists hold photos of late colleagues as they block the vehicle transporting Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during a protest in Tijuana, Mexico, on Feb 17, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (REUTERS) - Journalists in the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Thursday (Feb 17) held protests to urge President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to bring to an end the spate of violence that has seen five media workers killed this year.

Reporters protested inside and outside the military barracks in Tijuana, where Lopez Obrador held a morning news conference.

Two of the five media workers murdered this year were killed in Tijuana and the protests come at a time when the president has increased his verbal attacks against journalists.

"Our profession is very hurt. As in all of Mexico, we work beneath the shadow of being attacked and killed for our work, and the crimes committed against us aren't resolved," said local reporter Sonia de Anda during the conference.

Lopez Obrador said he regretted the deaths and that there would be no impunity in their cases, though he later lashed out at "mercenary" journalists whom he said were funded by "influence peddlers" and the United States to attack him.

The president's bellicose comments follow days of sharp criticism against him for repeatedly broadcasting the purported salary of a well-known Mexican newscaster, Carlos Loret de Mola, in his daily press conference.

Lopez Obrador's broadside against Loret came after the reporter published an expose alleging one of the president's sons lived in a house in Texas owned by an executive of a company doing business with state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

"We ask you to stop the messages of hate towards the profession in general, which put us all in the same situation,"said reporter Alejandra Guerra outside of the press conference.

The streak of violence against journalists in the country has put Lopez Obrador under international pressure, including by US lawmakers.

The protests on Thursday were the latest by journalists in the country. Earlier this week the press corps covering the nation's Congress turned their backs on legislators, shouting "We want to stay alive!"

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.