MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Just days after condemning an assassination attempt on a prominent journalist, Mexico’s president on Monday criticized the media for allegedly protecting special interest groups, even That targeted news anchor was also sidelined.
Leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized “spokesmen for conservatism” during his daily news conference on Monday, naming several high-profile independent journalists including television and radio host Ciro Gomez Leyva.
Gómez Leyva said last Thursday night when he was in his car a short distance from his home, two men on a motorcycle fired at him, only the vehicle’s armor did not protect him.
“Now they play the role of the victim,” López Obrador said. “(But) they are the elite from the most selective media,” he said, claiming the well-paid media figures want to protect interest groups, he did not name.
López Obrador on Monday denied using his regular news conference to “tarnish” perceived opponents, including the media. But rights group Article 19 has compiled data showing it uses conferences to single out journalists who criticize the media an average of six times in the past year.
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With 11 journalists killed so far this year, Mexico is the world’s deadliest country for media, according to Reporters Without Borders.
According to a report by the rights group, violence against the press during the first half of López Obrador’s term was 85% higher than during the same period in his predecessor.
“While the motive for the attack against Gómez Leyva is not yet known, it is not impossible to connect the dots: Mexico’s president must take responsibility for being the main enabler of the hostile environment against journalism,” Carlos Lloret de Mola also wrote, Monday. Published by the President in the opinion column of The Washington Post.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Lisa Shumaker)
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