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Amnesty International says Mechanism to Protect Journalists is ineffective

Eight journalists have been killed while enrolled in Mexico’s Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in the last seven years, a figure that highlights the urgent need to strengthen and reform the institution, said Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) upon publication of a joint investigation into the mechanism.

In a press release, AI said that, “on paper, the Mechanism evaluates the risks that journalists face, provides them with protective measures and coordinates with state and federal agencies to mitigate risks. In reality, while the mechanism has provided much-needed protection for some journalists, it is failing to adequately protect many others.”

According to the joint investigation, as of November 2023, there were 651 journalists enrolled in the mechanism: 469 men and 182 women. But the number of requests for protection that the mechanism has rejected has risen sharply in recent years, from just one in 2020 to 14 in 2021, 49 in 2022 and another 49 in the first 11 months of 2023.

AI said that “almost all” the journalists interviewed said that they had continued to suffer security incidents after enrolling in the mechanism and many described the mechanism’s response as “slow, bureaucratic, and lacking in empathy. Many female journalists also felt that mechanism staff minimized the risks they faced and failed to take their gender into account.”

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