Mexican president condemns attempt on prominent journalist's life

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has repeatedly lambasted Gomez and other journalists critical of his policies, but opened his daily morning conference by denouncing the attack.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Reuters

MEXICO: Mexico's president condemned on Friday an apparent assassination attempt on a prominent news anchor he has often clashed with, prompting calls for better security for media workers as journalist slayings hit record levels in the country.

Television and radio presenter Ciro Gomez Leyva said two unidentified people on a motorcycle shot at him when he was in his car some 200 meters (660 feet) from his home on Thursday night. He shared images of bullet impacts on the car on Twitter, saying he survived because of the vehicle's armor. Gomez was back on the air on his morning radio show on Friday.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has repeatedly lambasted Gomez and other journalists critical of his policies, but opened his daily morning conference by denouncing the attack. "He's a journalist, a human being, but he's also a leader of public opinion. Hurting a figure like Ciro creates a lot of political instability," Lopez Obrador said.

On Wednesday, Gomez was singled out for criticism during a regular section of a news conference dedicated to identifying what Lopez Obrador calls the media's "lies of the week." "Imagine if you just listened to Ciro or Loret de Mola or Sarmiento," Lopez Obrador said, naming Gomez and other leading journalists. "It's even bad for your health, I mean if you listen to them a lot, you could even develop a brain tumor."

The assassination attempt underscored "even in Mexico City, journalists are not safe," said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar condemned the attack.

"Journalist security in Mexico must be guaranteed, which is of paramount importance to fully exercise democracy and freedom of expression," Salazar wrote on Twitter. Eleven journalists were killed in 2022 in Mexico, making it the deadliest country for the profession, according to Reporters Without Borders. Other groups have documented even more murders.

Tony Payan, director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, urged Lopez Obrador to use the "opportunity to acknowledge his own responsibility given his constant attacks on the press and specific journalists."

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