National Press Club

US Government Browbeats Endangered Mexican Journalist Into Returning Home

May 25, 2017 | By Kathy Kiely |

In an unfortunate setback for press freedom that seems all too typical of the times, U.S. government foot-dragging in the case of Mexican journalist Martin Mendez Pineda has put him in grave danger.

As we have already reported​, Mendez sought asylum in the United States after receiving death threats in his home country for reporting he did on government corruption. He followed the letter of U.S. law in doing so, presenting himself at the port of El Paso with an attorney when he entered the country.

Despite this and despite finding that he had "credible fear" of returning to his home country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to parole the 27-year-old reporter pending adjudication of his asylum case.

This left Martin confined for an indeterminate period of time in harrowing conditions, which he describes in this piece, just published in The Washington Post, ​and you can hear an interview with him here.

Recently, he decided to take his chances on returning to his country.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute worked closely with Reporters Without Borders and the International Committee for Journalists to build a case for Mendez's release. We will continue to do what we can to support the safety of this brave journalist.

The National Press Club is one of the oldest journalism institutions in the U.S.; its Journalism Institute is a non-profit affiliate that provides professional training and advances the cause of press freedom through a Press Freedom Committee and a Press Freedom Fellowship.