The Mexican Bishops’ Conference offered prayers for journalists as they face increased violence in their efforts to uncover truth.
“The Mexican Bishop’s Conference expresses its support and solidarity with journalists throughout Mexico, facing violence attacks in the exercise of their profession,” the bishops said in a May 21 statement.
According to the international journalist advocacy group Reporters without Borders, an estimated 105 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since the year 2000. This makes Mexico the third most deadly country in the world for journalists, after Syria and Afghanistan, and ahead of Iraq.
So far in 2017 alone, six journalists have been murdered in Mexico.
The most recent was Javier Valdez, shot dead May 15 in Culiacan, Sinoloa. The journalist, a correspondent for “La Jornada” in Sinaloa, had done in-depth reporting on drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico.
In their statement, the Mexican bishops recalled Pope Francis’ words that the journalist “has a very important role and at the same time a very great responsibility.”
“Freedom, in the form of expression, is a gift bequeathed by God, so no one has the right to take it away from anyone…there is nothing to justify an attack on that freedom,” they stated.
“We join in prayer that the Lord Jesus may console and alleviate the suffering and the worries that overwhelm the entire profession that today is afraid to do its work, since we are aware that the aggression is being directed at people who are members of the media in general: reporters, cameramen, editors, bureau chiefs, managers, among others.”
The Bishops of Mexico stressed that “hatred and resentment must not be the protagonists in the history of salvation, which is why we speak out in readiness to continue working strenuously to establish peace in our nation.”
“We are aware that only through actions of solidarity is it possible to heal society,” they said.
The Mexican Bishops’ Conference reiterated the commitment of the Church in the country to spiritually accompany “the families of the victims of those who have suffered attacks, extortion, kidnappings, murders, because of their reporting work, as a consequence of the social deterioration that prevails in our country.”
“Before God, no one’s work is unimportant, especially when it comes to the search for and dissemination of the truth which clearly allows the Kingdom of God to be built up.”
The bishops also called on the civil authorities to ensure “that everyone can exercise their profession in freedom and security, to fight the impunity and corruption which is striking and wounding our country so much.”
“Holy Mary of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico, save our homeland an preserve our faith,” they concluded.