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Aggression against journalists on the rise in Mexico

Aggression against journalists on the rise in Mexico
The Mexican and Central American director of Article 19 Ana Cristina Ruelas in the presentation of the annual report of 2018 on April 2, 2019 in Mexico City EPA-EFE/José Méndez

Being a journalist is one of the most dangerous occupations in Mexico and the situation is on the rise with a journalist attacked every 16 hours and 99 percent of the cases going unpunished, the press freedom group Article 19 said Tuesday.

In its annual report on freedom of expression and information, the organization said they want the silence to end and respect for the voices that communicate the latest news every day.

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"The purpose of the report is to remember, it is an acknowledgment of those who spoke up against the silence," Article 19's director for Mexico and Central America, Ana Cristina Ruelas, said, referring to the 124 journalists killed in the Aztec nation since 2000, including 47 during the 2012-2018 government of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Ruelas brought up the "fear caused by violence" that spurs many journalists to work anonymously.

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In 2018 there were 544 attacks against journalists, of which 230 were perpetrated by public employees.

Another factor is the "culture of deception" used by the government and institutions to communicate "official stories," which are far from the truth.

Ruelas also pointed to the timidity of those government organizations that ostensibly focus their activities on protecting minorities and human rights but ignore many situations that could be risky to investigate.

Also at the ceremony were: Griselda Triana, the widow of a journalist killed in 2017 in the western state of Sinaloa, and Javier Valdes, who was shot 12 times for investigating issues such as the forced disappearances and killings of women.

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Triana said that "silence is not an option for the men and women who continue to write every day, despite all the pain and fear."

After almost two years of struggling to clarify the facts behind the death of her husband, Triana continues to demand justice for the families of the journalists killed in a country where reporting can be life-threatening.

"The only thing left for me is to continue with my demand for justice, not to be silent," she said.

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