Gunmen tried to kill a famous Mexican TV anchor
Mexico news anchor lives through shooting despite rise in journalistic violence.
One of Mexico's well-known newscasters was returning from work last Thursday at about 11 pm through his peaceful neighborhood in the capital when gunmen on a motorcycle rode up and began firing at him. They repeatedly struck his car before speeding away.
The anchor, Ciro Gómez Leyva, escaped unharmed, apparently saved by bullet-resistant glass windows that withstood several direct shots. “Someone wanted to kill me,” Gómez Leyva said on his newscast the following day. “I don’t know why. I don’t know who.”
According to The New York Times, nobody is certain of the perpetrator or the reason for the crime, but the blatant assault on such a well-known journalist delivered a clear message to the country's media: No one is safe.
Mexico's press corps has started to contemplate the notion that fame, traditionally thought to be a shield against violence, may not give much protection in a number of newspaper pieces and in conversations among colleagues.
“You attack someone as visible and important as Ciro because the cost of doing so is very low,” Salvador Camarena, a newspaper columnist based in Mexico City, said, using Gomez Leyva’s first name. “That message has reached every journalist in Mexico, and it’s obviously terrifying.”
Obrador fight against the press
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has come under fire for much of the outrage surrounding the incident. Since entering office in 2018, he has had a contentious relationship with the media and regularly holds lengthy news conferences to denounce journalists who disagree with him.
Since he took office, López Obrador has used his daily press conferences as a weapon to attack specific journalists, displaying lists of them on a large screen and hosting a weekly segment called "Who's Who in Lies" to call out alleged falsehoods about his administration that have been reported in the media.
The president raised the possibility that the incident was staged and was truly an attempt to topple the government this week on national television.
López Obrador said he couldn’t “discount” the possibility that the assault was planned by “someone who did it to affect us", meaning that it was staged.
According to a variety of indicators, 2022 was one of the deadliest years for the press in Mexico in decades. Mexico has long been one of the most hazardous countries in the world for journalists.
Journalists Juan Carlos Muniz, Heber Lopez, Lourdes Maldonado, Margarito Martinez, Roberto Toledo, Jose Luis Gamboa, and Jorge Luis Camero and others were murdered.
Michell Simon, a Mexican television broadcaster and model, was discovered dead in February as well.
According to Reporters without borders, Mexico, which has seen the murder of nearly 150 journalists since 2000, is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.