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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a press conference in January

Photo: AFP

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador published the phone number of an unwanted journalist and was therefore targeted by his country's data protection authority.

López Obrador announced the number of a New York Times reporter in his daily press conference on Thursday.

He did this while reading out questions the newspaper had asked him about his political allies' possible ties to the drug world.

The Mexican Authority for Transparency, Access to Information and Data Protection then announced that it would investigate a possible violation of the law by Obrador.

“Worrying and unacceptable tactics”

The New York Times described the publication of its reporter's phone number as a "worrying and unacceptable tactic" by a head of state at a time when threats against journalists are increasing.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that US security authorities had been dealing with allegations for years that people close to López Obrador had received millions in sums from criminal gangs.

However, the investigators found no direct connections between the president himself and criminal groups.

The newspaper also wrote that much of the information collected by U.S. officials came from informants whose accounts were difficult to confirm and could be false.

However, the US authorities did not initiate a formal investigation because they had shown "little willingness" to "investigate the allegations against the head of state of one of America's most important allies."

The Mexican head of state described the allegations as “completely untrue.”

He called on the US government to provide explanations.

One of the most dangerous countries for journalists

Last month, the US research foundation ProPublica reported that López Obrador had already received financial support from drug traffickers during his first presidential candidacy in 2006.

However, according to ProPublica, it was not certain whether López Obrador benefited from the financial support or even knew about it.

Mexico is one of the countries where journalists are most at risk because of their work.

The organization Reporters Without Borders ranks Mexico 128th out of 180 in its press freedom rankings.

The organization writes that in no other country that is not at war are so many journalists murdered.

A few weeks ago it became public that the Mexican government had stored the personal data of numerous journalists.

Press freedom activists expressed alarm.

There are presidential elections in Mexico in June, in which the former mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, who is an ally of incumbent López Obrador, is running.

Against this background, López Obrador described the allegations against him as an attack by his political opponents.