AMLO argues that the New York Times disclosed data from the journalist and asserts that his authority is above privacy law.

AMLO argues that the New York Times disclosed data from the journalist and asserts that his authority is above privacy law.

(CNN Spanish) –– Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, this Friday defended the disclosure of personal data by a New York Times newspaper reporter, and justified the action by saying that his moral and political authority as president trumps data protection. by Mexican privacy law.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world for a journalist. In 2022, 13 journalists were killed in Mexico, surpassed only by Ukraine, according to the group that protects journalists. Article 19, an organization that protects freedom of expression, reports that at least 43 journalists have died on the job in Mexico so far under López Obrador's regime.

In his morning briefing, López Obrador said in his statements on Thursday that he saw no error in publicizing the journalist's data when he publicly responded to a questionnaire sent to him alleging illegal financing of his 2018 presidential campaign. . and subsequent payments at your discretion.

The president downplayed the disclosure of the reporter's phone number: “I changed her phone number, another number, just in case a colleague was worried about her phone number being released. Plus, she's the new Rep. York Times.” , he responded when a journalist at the conference asked him who would be responsible if something happened to an American media reporter.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador takes the stage during the celebration of the fifth anniversary of his victory in the 2018 presidential election at the Zócalo on July 1, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. Credit: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

For its part, the National Institute of Transparency (INAI) said it has opened an investigation into the disclosure of the journalist's data by the media.

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“It was unacceptable that the President of Mexico read aloud the cell phone number of New York Times Mexico Bureau Chief Natalie Kittroff during his press conference today. TaxingIt's illegal under Mexican privacy laws and puts journalists at risk,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in Mexico for the Americas project, published in X on Thursday.

“Above that law, there's moral authority and political authority, and I represent a country and honorable people, and nobody's going to come because we're not criminals. We have moral authority, not just any people. It's going to come because it's the New York Times, and it's going to put us in the dock. Going,” demanded López Obrador.

The president said the journalist had no right to slander him or blame his family “without any evidence”. He said he would not rule out revealing another journalist's phone number “in case the dignity of the Mexican president is at stake.”

Following López Obrador's statements this Thursday, the New York Times published the investigation in question, issued a position statement disapproving of the president's actions and supporting both the report and its journalists.

According to the newspaper, the U.S. government is investigating reports from a pair of informants that one of the main bosses of the Sinaloa cartel and founder of the Zetas crime group, Ismail Zambada Garcia, paid millions of dollars. People close to the current president of Mexico, including his children. The newspaper notes the US Justice Department's response, confirming that there will be no prosecution against López Obrador.

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The article, which CNN could not independently verify, said that while recent efforts by U.S. authorities have identified possible links between cartels and individuals linked to López Obrador, they have found no direct link between the president and criminal organizations.

On the same day the president released the questionnaire, White House Security Council spokesman John Kirby denied there was a US government investigation against him.

López Obrador took the opportunity to thank the US government for clarifying the investigation against him mentioned in the statement and reiterated that it would not affect relations between the two governments. “There is a lot of interest related to the well-being of our people,” he stressed.

Instead of apologizing, the president downplayed the seriousness of his actions, saying the American media felt offended and targeted journalists by “lowering their arrogance.”

Following the president's comments on Thursday, the New York Times told CNN it was “a troubling and unacceptable tactic by a world leader at a time when threats against journalists are on the rise.”

CNN reached out to representatives of the New York Times after Lopez Obrador's new reports, but they said they had no further comment at this time.

López Obrador's decision to reveal the reporter's personal data adds to the list of controversies between the media and the president in one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism, according to international agencies.

Since assuming the presidency in 2018, López Obrador has used his traditional morning press conference to criticize the reports, media and journalists for publishing negative aspects of his administration.

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Arzu Daniel

"Extreme pop culture lover. Twitter enthusiast. Music ninja. Booze. Communicator. Bacon nerd in general."

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