WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), along seven Democratic Senate colleagues, today introduced a resolution condemning consistently high levels of violence against journalists in Mexico and expressing support for increased efforts to safeguard Mexican freedom of the press. Following the ongoing spike in extrajudicial killings and concerning levels of impunity, the resolution encourages the Government of Mexico to ensure thorough and impartial investigations into violence against journalists, assist local and state entities in strengthening deterrent, protective, and accountability measures, and collaborate with civil society and multilateral organizations to monitor the state of free and independent press.
“One of the essential pillars of democracy is a free and open press. Mexico was ranked as the most dangerous country for reporters outside of a war zone for the third year in a row in 2021. This deterioration of press freedoms means it is urgent to adopt this resolution calling upon President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and other government officials to commit sufficient resources to address threats to the free press,” said Senator Ben Cardin.
“In recent years, Mexico has been the most dangerous country in the world outside of a war zone for journalists. With 12 Mexican journalists already murdered in the first six months of 2022, urgent action is needed to deter hostility toward a free press, strengthen protection measures for media workers, and end high levels of impunity for violence in Mexico,” Senator Menendez said. “Building upon recent efforts by the European Parliament, I am honored to be joined by my colleagues in signaling our enduring commitment to the people of Mexico and to the belief that a free and independent press is a foundational pillar of a healthy democratic society. As journalists risk everything to advance truth, expose injustice, and hold bad actors to account, they deserve nothing less than our – and the Government of Mexico’s – full support.”
“I welcome President López Obrador’s visit to Washington, which will be important to advancing our countries’ shared interests on trade, security, energy, and migration. Equally important will be action on strengthening protections for journalists in Mexico, who continue to confront record levels of violence in the country,” said Senator Kaine. “Press freedom must remain the cornerstone of every democratic nation, including Mexico. At its core, this resolution underscores the urgent need to protect journalists who risk their lives to report the truth.”
Joining as cosponsors of this resolution are Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
“Freedom of press is an essential component of democracy. Journalists speak truth to power and hold governments accountable, yet in too many countries face threats or even murder for their courage to report the news,” said Senator Durbin. “I’m joining this resolution to draw attention to the troubling violence faced by Mexican journalists and to urge its government to work alongside the U.S. to finally address this problem.”
“My heart is with Mexican journalists and their families as they face unprecedented levels of violence for reporting on the truth and standing up to threats,” Senator Wyden said. “As the son of a journalist, I believe that reporters in Mexico and worldwide have a fundamental right to do their job free from violence and intimidation. I am proud to cosponsor this resolution.”
“Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of a strong democracy, and we must work to safeguard that freedom both here at home and abroad,” said Senator Padilla. “The rise in violence against journalists in Mexico is extremely alarming and should concern us all. I join my colleagues in calling for the Mexican government to commit resources to address threats and extend stronger protections for a free and independent press.”
“It is deeply concerning that Mexican journalists routinely face violence and threats, simply for covering the news and informing the public,” said Senator Klobuchar. “I’ve long led efforts to protect reporters both here in the U.S. and around the world because standing up for democracy means standing up for a free press. This resolution reaffirms our nation’s longstanding commitment to safeguard the freedom of the press.” Find a copy of the resolution text HERE