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Mexican president condemns gun attack on prominent journalist

file photo: mexicans pay tribute to the murdered joranlists and activists on the eve of the day of the dead
Esteban Gallardo, brother of Pamela Gallardo, who disappeared in 2017, looks at the altar honoring murdered journalists and activists on the eve of the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, Mexico, October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf/File Photo

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday condemned an apparent assassination attempt on a prominent news anchor and critic of the president who said assailants had opened fire on him while he was driving his car.

Television and radio presenter Ciro Gomez Leyva said on Twitter two unidentified people on a motorcycle shot at him when he was some 200 meters (660 feet) from his home Thursday night, and shared images of bullet impacts on the vehicle.

Gomez said he was still alive because of the vehicle’s armor, and he was back on the air on his morning radio show on Friday.

Lopez Obrador, who has repeatedly lambasted Gomez and other prominent journalists critical of his policies, opened his daily morning conference by denouncing the attack.

“He’s a journalist, a human being, but he’s also a leader of public opinion. Hurting a figure like Ciro creates a lot of political instability,” Lopez Obrador said.

On Wednesday, Gomez was singled out for criticism during a regular section of a news conference dedicated to identifying what Lopez Obrador calls the media’s “lies of the week.”

“Imagine if you just listened to Ciro or Loret de Mola or Sarmiento,” Lopez Obrador said, naming Gomez and other leading journalists. “It’s even bad for your health, I mean if you listen to them a lot, you could even develop a brain tumor.”

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar condemned the attack in a tweet on Friday.

“Journalist security in Mexico must be guaranteed, which is of paramount importance to fully exercise democracy and freedom of expression,” Salazar wrote.

Mexico is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists, according to a report published on Wednesday by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

The report identified 11 killings of media professionals this year, though other groups have documented a higher number.

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