'Difficult times' for journalism in Mexico: Aristegui receives 2023 World Press Freedom Hero award

The Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui was recognized with the award World Press Freedom Hero 2023, awarded by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the International Media Support (IMS).

From Vienna, Austria, he denounced censorship, espionage and “artious and direct attacks by politicians at the highest level” against the media and journalists. Likewise, he praised the hard work of his colleagues in Mexico and the rest of the world and highlighted the importance of free, critical and independent journalism.

The award, presented this year by Carlos Dada, Salvadoran journalist, founder of The lighthouse and winner of it in 2022, it is awarded to journalists who show courage and resilience in the fight for press freedom and the free flow of news.

“For more than three decades Carmen Aristegui has been a symbol of courage and quality journalism in Mexico and Latin America”, Dada celebrated on stage. “Her integrity has been tested time and time again by all kinds of attacks and pressures. She has stayed true to the truth and upheld her journalistic ethic even when it has meant putting up or losing her job.”

Despite all the attacks, she does not bend. She is what we call ‘a very brave woman’. […] But the most impressive thing about her is that she never exchanges insults with her attackers. She always responds with journalism.

Carlos Dada affirmed that Carmen Aristegui has the respect, admiration and support of him and the journalists of Latin America for her great work while celebrating the award.

Aristegui thanked the award and sought to focus on the enormous pressure suffered by free and independent journalism in Mexico, which in many cases becomes a deadly task.

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“Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries and with the highest mortality rate in the world for those who practice journalism. From 2000 to 2022 have been documented 157 murders in Mexico of journalists and media workers. Deaths, almost all of them, that have remained in impunity”, he pointed out in one of the most important journalism forums worldwide.

Murdering a journalist is murdering society’s rights to know and be informed. And if there are no consequences – as there aren’t – and if there is impunity – as there is – it is an invitation to continue murdering, it is to allow eyes, ears, voices to continue to be turned off that will no longer be there to inform us.

For their vigorous watchdog journalism, Aristegui and his team have been subjected to a variety of abuses at the hands of the Mexican state and other powerful actors, including smear campaigns and politically motivated firings. She and her family were illegally targeted by pegasus watch as of 2015, in one of the first known uses of the powerful spyware against journalists.

Photo: Photo Twitter @AjoloteVagando

In recent years, Carmen Aristegui She has received direct attacks from the highest commands of the Federal Power, something that she calls “typical attacks of authoritarian regimes against journalists.” She affirms that they deliberately seek to damage – if possible annihilate – those two fragile axes on which the work of the press and its relationship with society are sustained: trust and credibility.

When a president, with deliberation and political calculation, virulently attacks a journalist with a first and last name, for saying or publishing something, he unleashes authentic campaigns of hate and disqualification on networks.

Aristegui has spent nearly three decades publishing high-profile stories on high-level corruption in Mexico, working primarily on radio and television, including CNN en Español. His work is distinguished by an unwavering will to shed a critical light about some of the most powerful institutions in Mexico, despite the risks that such information entails. In fact, her journalism has repeatedly been a thorn in the side of those in power, frequently making her a target of reprisals.

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Photo: Carmen Aristegui

“This Award pushes us to move forward”, thanked Carmen Aristegui, assuring that the award puts on the table the worrying reality that exists in the country. “Today in Mexico, as in many other countries, we see processes and realities running in which rights, legality, democracy and freedoms continue without being guaranteed.”

“More of 57 thousand human bodies accumulatewithout having been claimed or recognized by anyone, while, paradoxically, thousands of people -mainly women- scratch the fields, the earth with their nails, to find their disappeared sons, daughters, husbands, relatives”, stressed Aristegui, emphasizing the fight of hundreds of Mexicans against violence and the forensic crisis that plagues the streets of the country.

During the conference organized by International Press Institute HE They discussed the challenges that journalism faces such as fake news and artificial intelligence. However, Aristegui asked that from the event a call be made to the countries about what is happening against many journalists who are persecuted, attacked, murdered or imprisoned for doing their job.

Carmen Aristegui sent a message of encouragement and solidarity to Jose Ruben Zamoraa Guatemalan journalist who is in jail, subjected to a disputed judicial process that clearly points to “political persecution.”

supported Carlos Fernando Chamorro, Sergio Ramirez and for all those that the Nicaraguan regime has imprisoned, persecuted and declared traitors to the homeland.

reminded jimmy lai 75-year-old, who was arbitrarily detained and accused of violating Chinese national security and told Reporters Without Borders that, together with editors and journalists from various parts of the world, have spoken out to highlight their work in favor of pluralism and independent information and to demand their release.

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For these journalists – and for the many that I have not mentioned – censored, persecuted, imprisoned, assassinated or attacked in different ways in the world; The widest recognition goes to defending the right of people to know, to be informed and for courageously defending, even at the cost of their lives, the freedom of the press.

IPI executive director Frane Maroević wrote that “Carmen Aristegui stands out for his courageous determination to speak truth to power, despite the risks that this entails in a country like Mexico, one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism. Throughout his career, he has done what the best investigative journalists do: act as a watchdog for the powerful and give a voice to the weak.

Because of this work, he has faced repeated attacks, harassment, and violations of his human rights. Yet time and again she has responded to this harassment by redoubling her commitment to critical journalism, refusing to be silenced. We are proud to award you this year’s IPI-IMS World Press Freedom Hero award”.

These were the words of Carmen Aristegui during the Annual IPI World Congress upon receiving the award:


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