The European Union (EU) has denied it wants to interfere in Mexico’s internal affairs regarding the protection of journalists. In addition, Gautier Mignot, EU Ambassador to Mexico, called on the Mexican government to defuse their diplomatic tensions and jointly address the growing violence against journalists in the country.
During the forum Toward the Construction of a Comprehensive Public Protection Policy, Mignot explained that improving the protection of human rights and journalists in Mexico has been a commitment of the EU for many years. In 2011, the EU granted EUR$3 million (US$2.9 million) to support 16 Mexican projects aiming to strengthen protection mechanisms in, as well as to carry out a media campaign to make the problem more visible. “For us, our cooperation in Mexico has always been a priority to actively support defenders and journalists. Dialogue between those affected and the authorities is urgent,” said Mignot. Mignot reiterated that the EU wishes to accompany Mexico in its fight against the growing violence, not to get involved in internal affairs. For this reason, he asked the Mexican government to end the diplomatic row which only distracts from the real problem. Mignot's comment comes after President López Obrador criticized the European Parliament in March 2022 and accused it of using the deaths of journalists in Mexico as an excuse to meddle in internal affairs. In addition, he laid blame on the EU for continuing to display a colonialist mentality, expecting countries to comply with what the EU orders.
During the forum, UN Representative Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado stressed that the efforts of Mexican authorities to stop attacks against the press will not be enough if impunity is not combated, which he sees as an incentive for the perpetrators to continue the violence.
In addition, Fernández said that the current protection mechanisms in the country are not a solution because they do not address the roots of the attacks, nor do they prevent them. “The protection mechanism cannot be expected to be the only solution. This is something that should be temporary. It is not about having a more powerful and broader protection mechanism, it is about creating the conditions so that further measures are no longer necessary,” he said.
Currently, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist in. According to the organization Article 19, there have been 1,945 attacks against journalists since the beginning of López Obrador’s government, of which 33 resulted in assassinations. Moreover, more than 90 percent of these 33 cases remain unsolved. This week, the number of reporters murdered in Mexico during 2022 rose to 11, the most violent year yet for journalists.