Bipartisan senators call on Mexico to protect journalists

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) arrives to the Capitol for a series of votes regarding nominations on Monday, February 7, 2022.
Greg Nash

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are calling on Mexico to protect its journalists after a series of killings this year.

The two wrote a letter to the State Department urging them to create a plan that will put pressure on Mexico to live up to declarations of protecting journalists. 

“We write to express deep concern about the ongoing killings of journalists in Mexico and to seek greater insight into U.S. efforts in support of press freedom in the country,” Kaine and Rubio wrote. “While the bilateral partnership between our nations remains strong, the U.S. must urge the Mexican government to seriously improve efforts to protect journalists.”

Four journalists have been killed in 2022 and nine journalists were killed in 2021. The senators pointed toward harmful rhetoric by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador directed at journalists. Many of those killed were local reporters looking into links between politics and crime.

“The years-long violence against journalists in Mexico cannot begin to lessen as long as the country’s leader continues to normalize hostility towards freedom of expression,” the senators wrote. 

Mexico was ranked 143 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. 

“We request that the State Department provide detailed information on what specific steps the agency will take to ensure that there is transparency and accountability for the recent murders of journalists, and to better address the crisis of freedom of expression in Mexico,” Kaine and Rubio wrote.

“We also request an overview of the steps the Department has taken to address and mitigate pattern of cooperation between drug cartels and individual members of Mexico’s government. In addition to your written response, we urge State to schedule a briefing with our respective offices on this issue to better understand what actions Congress may take to help as well,” they added.

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.

Tags Andrés Manuel López Obrador Freedom of the press Journalism Marco Rubio Marco Rubio Mexico Tim Kaine Tim Kaine

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