8.1 C
Houston
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Mexican intellectuals claim freedom of expression threatened

MEXICO CITY (AP) – President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied Friday that his administration has hurt freedom of expression in Mexico, as claimed this week in an open letter signed by hundreds of people, including dozens of well-known intellectuals.

The group objected to López Obrador’s frequent accusations that those who disagree with him are “frivolous” or have financial or ideological ties to private interests or conservative groups.

The president has publicized some media outlets’ lucrative deals with past administrations, calling them wasteful. But the intellectuals say the tone of the attacks has damaged press freedom.

López Obrador said Friday he has not censored anyone and does not intend to do so.

“We are not going to censor anybody, we are not going to persecute anybody. They are always going to have all their freedoms guaranteed,” López Obrador said of the signers of the letter.

But at the same time, he added, “this group always supported neoliberal policies and now they feel offended, when what they should be doing is apologizing for having stood by and done nothing while the country was looted.”

The letter claims that “freedom of expression is under siege in Mexico, and with that, democracy is threatened.”

“President López Obrador uses the rhetoric of stigmatizing and defaming those who he calls his adversaries,” the letter continues. “This offends the public, degrades public discourse and debases the office of the presidency, which should use the language of tolerance.”

The group also cited government legal threats against media outlets, though there has been only one big case. In August the government announced a fine of $45,000 against a magazine that has long been critical of López Obrador, and it banned federal agencies from advertising in the magazine for two years.

The federal comptroller’s office argued the magazine presented false documentation while trying to get paid for a public health promotional ad that a previous administration ran in the magazine in 2018. Press groups called the fine excessive, noting the magazine billed less than $3,000 for the ad.

Jan-Albert Hootsen, the Mexico representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said the president’s verbal volleys are concerning.

“Expressions that stigmatize are very damaging for freedom of expression and the incentive to commit violence against journalists and intellectuals is large,” Hootsen said.

Hootsen noted that 15 journalists have been killed in Mexico since López Obrador took office on Dec. 1, 2018. In the six years of the previous administration, 39 were killed.

“This administration is not carrying out the kind of direct censorship that was done under previous administrations, and that is good,” Hootsen said. “But violence against the press is at the same level, or higher.”

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.



Washingtontimes

Latest news

Why does the ‘open borders’ lobby oppose Trump’s rule against asylum for abusers, gang members, and violent criminals?

On Oct. 21, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security finalized a new rule...

At Least 2 Killed In 2nd French Terror Attack This Month; Victim Reportedly Decapitated

In what appears to be the second major French terror attack in two weeks, at least two have been killed and one critically injured...

Woman decapitated as knife-wielding man kills three in French church

At least two people — including a woman who was apparently decapitated — were killed and several others injured in a suspected terror attack...

New York Post Disputes Twitter CEO’s Claims Company Lifted Ban on Biden Exposé

The New York Post on Wednesday disputed claims from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that his company had lifted a ban on it reporting on...

Related news

Trending News

White House Blocks CDC ‘No Sail’ Order

The Centers for Disease...

Rasmussen poll says 46% of black voters approve of President Trump

A daily tracking poll of President Donald Trump's job approval released Friday showed an eye-popping surge in approval for Trump among black voters. According...

DHS pushes back on reports lawyers can’t find parents of children separated at border

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman pushed back against a news story claiming that...

Joe Biden Boasts Of ‘Most Extensive’ Voter Fraud ‘In The History Of American Politics’

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden recently bragged that Democrats have created the “most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American...

Joe Biden was the “Big Guy” Getting 10% of the Deal With Chinese Businessman Says Insider

  Among the second set of documents released by the New York Post last week were emails involving two different business schemes Hunter Biden is...

Former never-Trumper James Lindsay on why he just CAN’T vote for Joe Biden

This is a moment "Cynical Theories" author James Lindsay probably hoped would never come. The liberal mathematician and host of the "New Discourses Podcast"...

Secret Service Travel Logs Match Details in Alleged Hunter Biden Emails

Secret Service logs obtained earlier this year by Senate investigators include dates and locations matching those discussed in the emails allegedly belonging to Hunter...

Cycle Threshold Value Missing in CCP Virus Case Numbers: Experts

News Analysis Since the beginning of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, policymakers in the United States have relied heavily on the daily positive cases—confirmed by...