BY INSI

Covering the Mexican elections

Mexico’s presidential race has been described as the bloodiest in recent history with 114 candidates, politicians or office holders killed since nationwide campaigning stated in September 2017, according to the security consulting group Etellekt.

The local and federal elections get underway on 1 July, with former Mexico City mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador the current favourite to become president.

The following advisory contains highlights from a recent INSI members’ webinar on covering the elections. 

General safety 

  • Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for the media, according to INSI’s annual Killing the Messenger report on journalist casualties.
  • The mood on the ground in Mexico City is calm, with no big protests planned. However, if  López Obrador does not win, his supporters are expected to contest the vote in large numbers
  • Avoid going out at night (especially outside Mexico City).
  • Sexual harassment of female journalists occurs throughout the country. Women should wear trousers and avoid travelling alone late at night on public transport. Mexico City has special women-only buses and the metro has a women-only wagon.
  • Mexico has a “dry law” in place for election day and 24 hours before. Bars will be closed, and shops aren’t allowed to sell alcohol.
  • Click here to see a map and explanation of the drug cartels operating in Mexico.

Transport

  • Mexico City International Airport is fairly secure: there are cash machines inside and registered airport taxis, which can be prepaid at a booth in the airport, are available.
  • Uber is widely used in Mexico City and considered to be far safer than taxis.
  • Where possible, travel on the main tolled highways rather than using smaller roads.

Violence/Crime

  • Mexico City is seeing increasing numbers of armed robberies in affluent areas, which are not related to the elections.
  • Robbery is a serious risk. Be careful of your equipment if filming in the street and conceal your camera when not in use.
  • The states of Guerrero; Sinaloa; Veracruz; Jalisco and Tamaulipas have particularly high levels of violence.

Cyber security

  • Avoid connecting to free, public Wifi without the use of a VPN – especially at political rallies or at regional press offices set up by the government.

Image by AFP