The campaign 'silence is not an option' shows in a recent report that the rates of violence committed against journalists in Mexico are still increasing.
In a recent report, headed by the Catalan organization “Taula per Mèxic”, the evidence shows that the violent situation in Mexico is not improving for journalists, rather it is escalating. Between 2000 and 2019, 124 journalists were assassinated in Mexico, and 99.13% of these cases have been left unresolved. In addition, within the first semester of 2018, there were 388 reports of aggressive acts against members of the press. The “silence is not an option” campaign, run by Taula per Mèxic in Barcelona, is attempting to fight the situation in Mexico and to host journalists in an effort to support them.
As stated by Taula per Mèxic, much of the violence committed in Mexico can be attributed to the political unrest in Mexico which has led to a spread of misinformation by the government. In the opinion of investigator Mireya Márquez, journalism is corrupt in Mexico because of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which held uninterrupted political control for 71 years and did not respect the value of the press. During their time in power, journalists received false information from politicians and government officials and in return, they received large monetary gifts from mayors and governors. This set a precedent in Mexico for a lack of respect for the press which is still causing major issues today, such as the consistent acts of violence against journalists that we can see today.
Samantha Bradshaw, a researcher at the University of Oxford, mentioned that in 2017 the government sponsored “spam-bots” to spread false information, flooding social networks with fake news, and to attack journalists. This is consistent with the practices of the PRI. If anyone tries to prove that the government is spreading incorrect information, like Alberto Escorcia did, then they would receive violent threats and, in some cases, people would be forced into exile. These acts carried out by the Mexican government is fueling the criminal acts that are being committed against members of the press.
In an effort to stop the spread of false information a number of Mexican NGOs and universities have started an initiative, using the hashtag #QuieroQue, so that investigators start to verify the information that is being spread. Additionally, the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is trying to improve the relationship between the government and the press by stopping the flow of funds into media outlets, which was previously used to buy favors.
Even though the situation for journalists in Mexico is still very dangerous, there are numerous journalists who are dedicated to their jobs and who are striving to report real news.