The session also addressed the impacts of diminishing democratic spaces for safe and open journalism. How the international community can help support independent journalism was also discussed.
Jon Benjamin and David Lelliot, UK Ambassadors to Mexico and El Salvador respectively, gave the opening and closing remarks. Both highlighted the importance of media freedom as a key component of thriving democratic communities:
“The free exchange of ideas is the engine of development, both economic and political and social. Efforts aimed at reducing or limiting media freedom are counterproductive,” said David Lelliott.
“In the last 15 days, more than 700 journalists have benefited from a recent training project given by the UNESCO Office in Mexico, with the support of our embassy, the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) and from the federal government”, stressed Jon Benjamin, in relation to the work of the British Embassy in Mexico to promote freedom of the media and support journalists.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to be a journalist outside of a conflict zone. CPJ reports that of the 25 journalists killed worldwide in 2022 so far, seven have been killed in Mexico.
The UK remains committed to promoting independent journalism around the world, essential to building open, prosperous and democratic societies. Discussion of regional media freedom challenges will help inform UK support for journalists through both national and regional projects.