By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
More than 650 Mexican journalists, filmmakers, writers, lawyers and other intellectual thinkers signed an open letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Thursday, Sept. 17, imploring him to respect freedom of the press.
“President López Obrador uses his constant public discourse to stigmatize and defame those he deems to be his adversaries,” read the letter, as presented in a tweet by journalist León Krauze.
“In so doing, the president issues unfounded judgements and false claims that sow the seeds of hatred and division within Mexican society.”
The letter went on to say that AMLO’s harsh rhetoric and accusatory statements constitute “orders.”
“Following on the heels of these condemnations (by the president) have come censorship, administrative sanctions and bitter legal charges against the media and independent publications that have dared to criticize the government,” the letter said.
It also said that the only recourse for the victims of AMLO’s continual verbal assaults is to be silent or to leave the country.
By the same token, it said, AMLO has belittled and discarded appeals from groups fighting femicide and other acts of violence, as well as environmental organizations.
“He has cut budgets for autonomous organizations, humiliated judicial powers (that rule against his policies), attacked cultural, scientific and academic institutions and now is trying to suffocate freedom of expression,” the document read.
“Anger cannot continue to be fed from his tribunal without it eventually poisoning the river from which everyone drinks.”
AMLO did not seem moved by the letter since the following day, Friday, Sept. 18, he extended his usual two-hour daily press conference to three hours in which he attacked unmercifully the media, former Mexican leaders and other critics with unproven allegations of corruption and immorality.
Mexico is now the world’s most dangerous country on Earth for journalists, surpassing even Syria, according to the international watchdog group Committee to Protect Journalists.
So far this year, at least 12 journalists have been killed in Mexico.
…Sept. 18, 2020