Journalists associations

Journalistic collegiality has been traditionally weak, but this begins to change as increases in anti-press violence, casualization of journalistic work, transformations in the media markets, layoffs and collaborative enterprises have elicited the surge of of journalist collectives and coalitions across the country. Moreover, international watchdogs, think thanks and support groups have headquarters in Mexico City, such as Freedom House, whose principal aim is the protection of human rights and freedom of expression in a country with low scores in both areas. In the same line of work, we find Article 19, an organisation aimed at advocacy, research, safety and protection of journalists, and the general monitoring of press freedom, anti-press attacks, access to information and relevant media policies in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

In a context of labour precariousness, hostile environments inside and outside their media houses and increased risk, journalists have organised themselves to launch coalitions generally aimed at fraternising, improving working conditions and protect themselves. One of the most visible associations of journalists in Mexico, headquartered in Mexico City but with members across the country, is Periodistas de A Pie (Journalists on Foot). This network was launched in 2007 with the aim of improving the quality of journalism, empowering individual and institutional allies to acquire new training, and to support, help and mentor independent media projects. Not only they promote the professionalisation of local and regional journalism, but the network produces and showcases award-winning, quality news pieces based on investigative reporting, mainly through innovative storytelling in multimedia formats. They have also organised their work around advocacy and activism on anti-press violence, defending and protecting individual sufferers and supporting each other in coverage of sensitive issues like violence, immigration or human rights abuses. This association has been key in the professionalisation and protection of journalists, and crucially in the promotion of collaborative work and activism.

Other associations existing in the country include Frontline Freelance Mexico, which groups freelancers and fixers and provides with training in security and risk; Reporteras en Guardia (Female Reporters on Guard) a collective of female reporters that aims to commemorate killed journalists and create awareness on anti-press violence. Not coincidentally, in states and locations that have long-suffered drug-cartel and criminal violence, as well as anti-press attacks and weak rule of law, there have emerged journalistic organisations that aim to protect their members and be a voice for the guild. Such is the case of Association June 7th in Sinaloa, Association of Journalists of Guerrero State, or the Network of Journalists from Juárez in Chihuahua. Beat journalists have also organised themselves, forming the Mexican Net of Science Journalists or the Mexican Federation of Sports Commentators.

In general, there is not a single national organisation that has managed to affiliate the entire journalistic guild. In fact, by 2013-2015 a representative survey of Mexican journalists found that only a fourth of respondents (25.2 percent) belonged to one or more professional associations. We expect this figure to have risen due to layoffs and economic crisis in the media industries, but since no census exists about journalists in the country, the situation is difficult to trace accurately.