What World Press Freedom Day Means in Mexico

Photo: Unesco


Wednesday, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day, a date that takes on a particularly poignant significance in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and among the ones with the highest levels of unsolved crimes against the press.

Although the exact figures of those killed are often conflicting, more than 100 media workers have been killed or disappeared since 2000, and most of these crimes remained unsolved, improperly investigated and with few perpetrators arrested and convicted.

Last year alone, at least 696 crimes against media workers — ranging from intimidation and harassment to kidnapping and murder — took place in Mexico, and at least 24 were killed, according to media watchdog group Artículo 19, which takes its name from the portion of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights that establishes the right to freedom of expression.

To put that number in context, globally 66 journalists were killed in connection with their profession in 2022, according to the International Press Institute (IPI), a figure that marked a steep increase from the total of 45 journalists killed in 2021.

And since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office in December 2018, at least 60 journalists and media workers have died, and those figures only cover up to the start of April 2023.

World Press Freedom Day is intended to act as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media, which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

Every year, May 3 is a date that celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted by the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Assembly in 1991.

The day marks its 30th anniversary this year.

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