Investigative Journalism and Op-Eds
What I saw and lived as a journalist in Mexico made me fear not for myself, but for the free press in the rest of North America, where physical attacks, detentions and vitriol toward journalists are growing by the day.
Mexico has hit a record for most journalists killed in a year—at least 13 in 2022—and we’re only in October. If you ask why, most people say “the narcos.” If you ask Mexican President Andrés Manual López Obrador, he says there is no persecution of journalists by officials and no impunity, and anyone who says otherwise only wants to smear his administration.
Neither is entirely correct.
I worked for many years as a journalist in Mexico, and the number of killings to me is as staggering as the lack of response on the part of the Mexican government and the rest of the world. The rate of journalist killings in 2021 was higher than in any country at war, and Mexico is a democracy, not at war, with free speech guaranteed in its constitution.
Some Mexicans fear their new populist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will become the next Hugo Chávez and, like the former Venezuelan president, run his country off the rails. Some Americans fear trade at loggerheads and a Twitter war or worse between the new left-wing leader in Mexico and the right-wing one in the White House.
In the last five years, Mexico has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists working in non-combat situations.
The death of reporter Regina Martinez was almost too much for her colleagues to bear. Martinez, fearless and dedicated, known to be incorruptible — was an inspiration. The 48-year-old correspondent for the investigative weekly Proceso was famous for exposing abuse and corruption in an oil-rich state overrun by organized crime and a political system as opaque as its southern jungles. If she wasn't safe, no one was.