Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: presidencia.gob.mx

By KELIN DILLON

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) daily press conferences, known as mañaneras, are “a worrying instrument of misinformation,” said Article 19, an international human rights organization focused on freedom of information and expression.

The group released its report “Distortion: The Speech Against Reality” on Tuesday, March 23, detailing AMLO’s “attempt to control and censure the Internet,” as well as his “violence against the press, that continues to rise with 692 attacks against the media” in 2020 alone, “an unprecedented figure.” 

According to the nonprofit, attacks against the press increased by 13.63 percent from 2019 to 2020, equivalent to one attack every 13-odd hours, the most verbally violent year on record. 

“Over time, the mañanera has moved away from being a true space of information, transparency and accountability and become a space in which the agenda of the executive is … positioned positively at any cost, even sacrificing the truth about government performance,” read the report.

The organization also pointed out how public railings against the media could cause a “cascade effect” of violence against journalists, as “in just over two years of the current administration, 17 journalists have been assassinated for reasons possibly linked to their work,” said the report. “In 2020 alone, the murder of six journalists was recorded,” it said. 

Article 19 likewise mentioned how AMLO’s administration has not been transparent on its own end, having rejected 389 public requests for information on unclear grounds.

López Obrador has come under criticism in the past for his repeated vocal rants against the press and political opponents not following his agenda, going so far as to request the end of Mexico’s independent organizations like the National Electoral Institute (INE), which levied a warning against him for allegedly using his mañaneras to interfere in Mexico’s electoral process.

…March 25, 2021

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