In the video posted on Monday, a masked man claiming to be the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG)
, threatens to track down and “get” Milenio TV anchor Azucena Uresti for her coverage of the cartel. Uresti regularly covers cartel violence and self-styled civilian militias formed to defend communities against organized crime in her nightly newscasts.
CNN cannot independently authenticate the video.
In the video, six armed men surround a masked man who claims to be cartel leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho.”
“As a leader of Jalisco New Generation Cartel, I’m directly addressing Milenio News,” the man reads aloud. “The only thing I say to you is that you need to be balanced, to not lean to one side, don’t mess with businesses that aren’t yours.”
“I assure you that if you continue talking about me, Azucena Uresti, wherever you are, I’ll get you, and I will make you eat your words, even if they accuse me of femicide because you don’t know me,” he also said.
On her prime time show on Milenio TV on Monday, anchor Azucena Uresti said she’d entered into the federal protection program in the wake of the threat, the scope of which isn’t clear. She also issued her thanks for all the support she said she’d received in the wake of the video, adding, “Our work will always stick to the truth and to inform on the reality of a country like ours.”
Uresti went on to give her support to all journalists threatened for their reporting, saying, “I also express, as has happened on other occasions, my solidarity and support to hundreds of colleagues who remain threatened or have had to leave their places of origin but who continue to show the value of informing and the value of this profession.”
Milenio Media group published a statement acknowledging that reporting on the organized crime is a “risk, but that the Milenio group “maintains an unwavering commitment to continue doing so in an impartial way.”
It also offered support “to all our colleagues and Azuncena Uresti, honest and excellent journalists, in regards to the threats and slander to which they have been subjected.”
The Mexico office of Article 19, an organization that promotes freedom of speech, has recorded 141 murders of journalists in the country since 2000. Mexico also ranks a grim 143rd out of 180 countries in Reporters without Borders’ 2021 press freedom ranking.
“Year after year, Mexico continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous and deadliest countries for the media. Despite some limited recent progress, it is sinking ever deeper into a spiral of violence and impunity,” Reporters without Borders wrote.
“Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president since December 2018, still hasn’t carried out the reforms needed to rein in this violence and impunity,” the organization also said.
López Obrador on Tuesday condemned the threatening video and expressed support for Uresti.
“I want to express my solidarity to the journalist Azucena Uresti for the threat she received from one of the criminal organizations, I want to tell her that she has counted on us since I found out, communication has already been established with her,” he said in his daily briefing
López Obrador went on to say that journalists would be protected. “We’re going to protect Azucena, and we are to protect all Mexicans; it’s our responsibility.”
“The authority is no longer in the hands of the mafias, so I reiterate my solidarity with this journalist, Azucena Uresti, and to all journalists guaranteeing that our government will always protect those who carry out this profession,” he added.