MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico pilloried EU lawmakers on Thursday after the European Parliament passed a resolution urging President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to tone down his broadsides against the media in a country that has seen a slew of killings of journalists.
The parliament’s resolution “notes with concern the systematic and tough critiques used by the highest authorities of the Mexican Government against journalists.”
A tempestuous response followed from the government of Lopez Obrador, who argues his critics are part of a concerted effort to undermine his administration and thwart what he casts as his campaign to root out entrenched corruption in Mexico.
“It’s unfortunate that like sheep you join the reactionary and coup-like strategy of the corrupt group that opposes (the administration),” Mexico’s government said in a statement addressed to the European parliament late on Thursday.
Earlier, at a regular news conference, Lopez Obrador said criticism he has faced over journalist killings was tantamount to a clandestine coup orchestrated by media firms.
“It’s a kind of coup. It’s no longer the traditional military coup, it’s a soft coup with the power of the media that generally controls public opinion,” said the president, who argues he is taking steps to better protect media workers.
The European Parliament resolution pressed Mexico “to ensure that human rights defenders and journalists can continue their activities without fear of reprisal” after the killing of at least six media workers in the country so far this year.
But Lopez Obrador’s government dismissed the measure, saying Mexico was a pacifist nation that was not sending arms to any country “as you are doing now” in an apparent reference to EU support for Ukraine’s efforts to resist its invasion by Russia.
Some 145 journalists were killed in Mexico from 2000 to 2021, according to human rights group Article 19, making it one of the deadliest countries for journalists worldwide.
The worst year in recent history was 2017, with 12 murders, followed by 2010, with 10.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Kylie Madry; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Alexandra Hudson, Jonathan Oatis and Kim Coghill)