A Mexican non-profit has been launched to protext one of the nation’s endangered species — its own journalists.
It’s a job Mexico’s government has been unwilling — or worse — to provide.
The story from Agence France Presse:
When photojournalist Ruben Espinosa felt harassed by the authorities in eastern Mexico, he fled to the capital. Without protection, he was shot dead in a case still unsolved a year later.
Now, a group of journalists is about to open a secret shelter in Mexico City to protect colleagues like Espinosa in one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a reporter.
“It’s a house where we want them to have food, with all the basic services, where they are safe and they have psychological help,” Judith Calderon, president of the House of Rights of Journalists, told AFP.
Journalists who face threats can request government protection in Mexico, but the hideout will give another option for those who don’t trust the authorities, who sometimes are the tormentors.
The organization refused to reveal the shelter’s location for security reasons, but said that it will be able to house a dozen people when it opens in the coming weeks.
The group already has a waiting list.
More from teleSUR English:
A recent report by Article 19 found that attacks on members of the press took place approximately every 22 hours, while another report by the organization found that 23 Mexican journalists had been forcibly disappeared since 2003.
Mexico is widely considered one of the most dangerous places for journalists. Often the threats come from individuals with ties to the state itself, leaving few options for those who fleeing for their lives.
Journalists often relied on informal networks when fleeing credible threats, choosing not to rely on government assistance due to mistrust of public officials.
The federal government created a special program to purportedly protect journalists, though results have left many wanting.
Mexican journalist Pedro Rosas Tamayo, who specialized in police reporting, was killed outside his home earlier this month, despite having state-sponsored protective measures.
In its report, Article 19 specifically criticized the Mexican Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression, for having actually “fomented impunity,” rather than having help secure justice.