Mexican President Doxxes Correspondant

( – Mexico’s president has been accused of doxxing after releasing information on a US news bureau in his country. Media groups say Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to report on, with dozens of journalists killed there in the last few years. Any journalist whose personal information becomes public is at risk from the country’s notoriously violent drug cartels. Some of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s associates have been accused of links to those same cartels — and it was a request for information on those links that triggered the latest scandal.

Journalists Ask for Information — President Pushes Back

On February 22, the New York Times published an article on alleged links between the Mexican drug cartels and political allies of President Obrador. According to the paper, US law enforcement officials spent years investigating these potential links, trying to find out whether Mexican officials and presidential advisors had taken millions of dollars from the narcotics gangs. The article says that evidence of corruption was found, but the US never launched a formal investigation to avoid conflict with a neighbor and ally.

Obrador, who’s known to be hostile to journalists, denies all the allegations against his staff, calling them “completely false.” It’s not unusual for politicians to deny allegations in the media, but Obrador went further.

Hours before the paper ran the story, he held a press conference — and, as part of his presentation, he put the contact details of the New York Times’s Mexican bureau on screen. The information he released included a contact number for bureau chief Natalie Kitroeff, who had sent Obrador a request for information.

Journalists Condemn “Doxxing”

“Doxxing” refers to releasing someone’s personal information without their consent. It’s commonly used as a revenge tactic on social media, but can also be turned into an intimidation tool. For example, if journalists worry that sending a request to Mexico’s president might mean their contact details end up in the hands of a violent drug cartel, they’ll be less likely to send it.

By releasing Kitroeff’s contact details, Obrador could potentially have put her in real danger; Reporters Without Borders says that, since he took office in December 2018, 46 journalists have been killed in Mexico — mostly by drug cartels. Responding to the president’s actions, New York Times spokeswoman Nicole Taylor called it “a troublesome and unacceptable tactic,” adding that the paper stands by its reporting.

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