Updated 10:02 AM EST, Fri, Jan 15, 2021

Mexico Threatens Freedom of the Press: Dubbed the Deadliest Country for Journalists in Latin America by Study

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A new study found that Mexico is the deadliest place for journalists and media officials.

According to the research published on Tuesday, at least 123 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2006, more than any country in Latin America and the Caribbean region, teleSUR reported. This year alone, 14 journalists were killed and two more disappeared.

The commission to investigate crimes against journalists, Latin American Federation of Journalists, also indicated that Honduras is the second deadliest nation in the region, with 10 journalists brutally killed in 2015, teleSUR wrote. It was followed by Brazil with eight death counts, Colombia with five, and Guatemala with three killings.

Placing at the sixth position are Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Paraguay with one journalist murdered, the news outlet noted.

The report indicated that thus far, 43 journalists and media officials have been assassinated in Latin America and the Caribbean region, rising 60 percent in the number of murders since 2006, teleSUR further reported. Since 2006, 342 journalists across 17 countries have been killed, with about a third of those murders -- 123 victims -- taking place in Mexico. 87 percent of these murdered journalists were local reporters and more than half worked online.

However, no journalists or media officials were killed in the other 16 nations in the region, teleSUR added. This means that the murders have been concentrated in specific countries. The figures in the study also didn't include forced disappearances, which are harder to trace since families and relatives of the victims are hesitant to go to the police for fear of their safety.

Uruguayan lawyer and journalist Edison Lanza, who is also a special rapporteur for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, called for an end of violence against journalists in Mexico and the rest of the Latin America and Caribbean region.

"It's essential that states fully, effectively, and impartially investigate the murder of journalists and clarify the motives and judicially determine any relation they could have with journalistic activity and freedom of expression," said Lanza in an interview in November, as quoted in a separate report from teleSUR. "Authorities should not rule out the practice of journalism as a motive for the murder of assault before the investigation is complete."

On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, also criticized violence against journalists and called it as "the most extreme form of censorship that exists," teleSUR added. He also emphasized the significance of critical voices to the public's interest.

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