Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018, 09:04 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Mexico

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 14 February 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Mexico, 14 February 2013, available at: [accessed 23 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Key Developments

  • Several newsrooms targeted by bombs, gunfire as violent intimidation continues.

  • Mexico adopts landmark measure that federalizes anti-press crimes.

As the military battled drug cartels – and the gangs clashed with one another – the press came under fire from criminals and corrupt officials seeking to control the flow of information. Journalists disappeared or were threatened or forced to flee in reprisal for their work, and several media outlets were attacked. Freelance journalist Adrían Silva Moreno was shot to death in Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen. Five other journalists were murdered during the year; CPJ was investigating to determine whether the killings were work-related. After being repeatedly targeted, one daily published an editorial stating it would no longer report on cartel violence. In a sign of the public's dissatisfaction with President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's bloody offensive against the cartels, the rival Institutional Revolutionary Party won back the presidency in an election that vaulted Enrique Peña Nieto to power. Calderón's administration did have a landmark press freedom achievement in its final year. After years of advocacy by CPJ and other press freedom groups, Congress and the states passed a Calderón-backed constitutional amendment federalizing crimes against freedom of expression, a key step in combating local-level corruption and impunity. Still, the legislation needed to implement the amendment had yet to be passed in late year. At least 14 journalists were killed in retaliation for their work during Calderón's presidency, which ran from December 2006 through December 2012, marking the tenure as one of the deadliest on record for the press anywhere in the world.

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of dynamically-generated graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2012.]

Missing: 12

More journalists have gone missing in Mexico than in any other country in the world. At least nine were reported missing during President Calderón's six-year term, according to CPJ research. Crime photographer Miguel Morales Estrada was reported missing in Veracruz state in June 2012, according to news reports.

Countries where journalists have gone missing since 1982:

Mexico: 12
Russia: 8
Democratic Republic of Congo: 2
Iraq: 2
Rwanda: 2
Syria: 1
Sri Lanka: 1
Ukraine: 1
Kazakhstan: 1
Indonesia: 1
Ivory Coast: 1
Egypt: 1
Serbia and Montenegro: 1
Algeria: 1
Lebanon: 1

Killed during Calderón's term: 14

An additional 27 journalists were murdered during the same period. CPJ is investigating whether those killings were work-related.

Impunity Index rating: 8th

With at least 15 unsolved murders over the past decade, Mexico is the eighth worst nation in combating deadly anti-press violence, according to CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free.

CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index:

1. Iraq
2. Somalia
3. Philippines
4. Sri Lanka
5. Colombia
6. Nepal
7. Afghanistan
8. Mexico
9. Russia
10. Pakistan
11. Brazil
12. India

Outlets attacked: 6

The offices of at least six media outlets were attacked in 2012, according to CPJ research. Three supplements of the Monterrey-based daily El Norte were attacked in July. The Nuevo Laredo-based daily El Mañana was targeted in the same month. In March, two outlets in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas were attacked within a week.

Breakdown of Attacks*:

1: Car Bomb
2: Grenade
2: Explosive Device
1: Gunfire
1: Arson

* One office was simultaneously attacked by gunfire and a grenade.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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