Most crimes against Mexico journalists, activists unpunished

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FLE – Candles burn in front of pictures of murdered journalists Miroslava Breach, left, and Javier Valdez during a demonstration against the killing of journalists, outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City, May 16, 2017. A senior government human rights official said Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021. that 90% of crimes against activists and journalists go unpunished in Mexico (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, FIle)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A senior government human rights official said Thursday that 90% of crimes against activists and journalists go unpunished in Mexico.

The assistant interior secretary in charge of human rights said that in those cases where the culprits have been identified, almost half are local officials.

Local officials in Mexico are often angered by corruption accusations against them, but in some cases they are also in league with criminal or business interests.

Alejandro Encinas said new laws are needed to protect activists and reporters.

Mexico currently has a protection mechanism of alarms or guards that as of October covered 495 journalists and 1,011 activists. But critics have said the measures are insufficient. Nine people covered by the protection measures have been killed since Dec. 1, 2018, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places on earth for reporters outside active war zones.

Official figures show that in the first three years of the administration of López Obrador, 96 community, environmental or rights activists have been killed in Mexico, and 47 journalists or media workers.

Encinas also commented on the rather limited results of an amnesty law for Indigenous people, elderly non-violent offenders and those who didn’t get a fair trial. Under that program, only 44 people have been freed out of 1,798 who applied. Many cases are still under study.

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