The assassination of Fredy López Arévalo is yet another tragic example of the endemic violence and insecurity which journalists face in Mexico. It also demonstrates the complete lack of an effective protection mechanism for media workers, PEN International, San Miguel PEN and Danish PEN declared today. The organizations made an urgent call to the Mexican authorities at local, state and federal levels to investigate Lopez’s murder and to provide adequate protection to his relatives.
“Sadly, Mexico is known around the world as being the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist. Media workers are routinely threatened and intimidated for doing their jobs. Journalism is not a crime. We demand an end to impunity for crimes against journalists. We demand that the Mexican authorities break the cycle of violence and impunity, that they thoroughly investigate Lopez’s murder and bring those responsible to justice,” said Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director of PEN International.
On 28 October 2021, journalist Fredy Lopez Arévalo was assassinated outside his house in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, in the south of Mexico, according to reports by media and the Attorney General of the state of Chiapas.
“Today, marks two weeks since López’s murder, and we do not want his case to become another number or a statistic on violence against journalists. That is why we will closely monitor the progress of the investigation into this crime”, declared Mille Rode, Secretary General of Danish PEN Centre.
Fredy López Arévalo had a long career as a reporter, news correspondent and editor. For almost four decades, he worked with various media groups in Mexico and Central America, and was a correspondent for several local news agencies and international media outlets. Lopez was also a columnist and director of the magazine Jovel and broadcaster of the radio program XERA-Radio Uno.
Sources consulted by PEN International, revealed that the assassination of López was likely related to his work as a journalist and the views expressed in his reporting.
On 2 November 2021, PEN International wrote to Andres Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, calling for thorough investigations into the cases of the 23 journalists killed in connection with their work during his presidency.
Words are no longer enough. To condemn the crimes in public is no longer enough. The local, state and federal governments must take concrete steps and demonstrate real progress in their investigations. An end to impunity and the prosecution of those guilty of such crimes, is the only way for journalists, reporters, writers, and citizens to be able to write, investigate and publish their stories without fears of being murdered.
PEN International calls on the Mexican federal, state, and local authorities to:
- Promptly and thoroughly investigate the murder of Fredy Lopez Arevalo, and bring those responsible to justice;
- Avoid any messages which might revictimize the journalists affected by violence.
- Stop all acts of discrimination and stigmatization by officials of media and journalists, which inhibit freedom of expression and information;
- Urgently establish and safeguard essential conditions for the free exercise of journalism in the country, in compliance with the international agreements on human rights and freedom of expression signed and ratified by Mexico.