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Mexican cartel threatens to kill news anchor

August 10, 2021

A man claiming to be the leader of one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels demanded "even" media coverage of a turf war as he threatened to kill a journalist.

View of a checkpoint controlled by the community police in Cheran, Michoacan state
Michoacan state has long been convulsed by turf warsImage: Getty Images/AFP/P. Pardo

The Mexican government on Monday pledged to protect a national television station news anchor after she received death threats. 

A video circulated on social media showed a man, who identified himself as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel's leader, threatening the Milenio channel and its presenter Azucena Uresti.

The man in the video — surrounded by several masked men toting high-powered weapons — demanded "even" coverage of the conflict between the cartel and its rivals. 

The message complained that the channel favored so-called self-defense groups battling the Jalisco cartel in the western Michoacan state.

The man said he did not want to repress freedom of expression, but just wanted the coverage to be balanced.

Mexico vows to 'take appropriate measures'

The government "will take appropriate measures to protect threatened journalists and media," Jesus Ramirez, spokesman for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said on Twitter.

"Democratic freedoms are guaranteed along with the right to information," he added. 

Several activists and journalists condemned the video and called on the Mexican government to ensure protection for journalists. 

Watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks the Latin American country as one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists. 

RSF representative Balbina Flores said repeated threats against journalists showed  "that these groups are empowering themselves in the face of inaction by the state."

Over 100 journalists and activists have been murdered in Mexico since 2018. Only a fraction of the crimes has resulted in convictions.

Mortal danger for Mexico's reporters

fb/aw (AFP, AP, EFE)