Toluca journalist had to hire bodyguards after she was kidnapped in 2021

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In the central city of Toluca, investigative reporter Maria Teresa Montano had to hire bodyguards since she was kidnapped for several hours in 2021 after revealing a network of corruption.

“It’s been very difficult. You have to be very careful,” said Montano, 53.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the press.

Around 150 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, and only a fraction of the crimes have resulted in convictions, according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Other journalists killed this year were Juan Carlos Muniz, Heber Lopez, Jose Luis Gamboa, and Jorge Luis Camero.

“The nightmare continues for the press in Mexico,” RSF said after the latest murder, demanding an “exemplary investigation” by authorities.

The United States and the European Parliament have both urged Mexico to ensure adequate protection for journalists, angering President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who accused EU lawmakers of supporting his opponents’ “coup” attempt.

“These are crimes committed by criminal gangs,” Lopez Obrador said Wednesday, reiterating his vow of “zero impunity.”

Journalists in Mexico often lack safety equipment and, due to the low pay, collaborate with various media outlets.

Most crime reporters “depend on the number of stories or photos they sell to pay their rent, so they prioritize production over safety,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In the southern city of Chilpancingo, photographer Lenin Ocampo often runs into cartel members while working.

“They stop us. They check us. The threat’s always lurking,” the 40-year-old said.

Source: OEM

Mexico Daily Post