[WHRD Alert] MEXICO / Feminist portal SemMéxico hacked; receives threats and intimidating messages

April 24, 2023

On Tuesday, April 18, hackers attacked the news portal SemMé, whose informative work is the defense and promotion of the rights of women from a feminist perspective.  

SemMéxico charges that a threatening message to the website’s journalists and collaborators was left by software pirates with the apparent religious and nationalist connotations of conservative anti-rights groups. 

SemMéxico, directed by the journalist Sara Lovera López, is a women’s news project maintained by advertising and the efforts of all of its collaborators without relying on any public funding whatsoever.

It is important to note that within the last six months, journalists of this news media have denounced at least ten attempts to sabotage the portal. They were partial attacks, but this time the site was totally hacked.  

These attacks take place in an oveall  context of violence directed against journalists. The Registry of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico notes that in 2020 and 2021, journalists who defend the right to information and freedom of expression constituted the group of women defenders with the highest number of attacks. In 2022, this group took second place, behind women defenders who defend the right to a life free from violence. That year, Mexico City was the area that registered the highest number of attacks against women defenders and journalists. 

SemMéxico has charged that the April 18th attack may have been related to their members’ engagement for 8 years in journalistic work in defense of women’s rights, including denunciations of violence and human rights violations perpetrated in the country.  

We of IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico condemn these acts of intimidation that abuse freedom of expression and information and place the physical and emotional integrity of women defenders and journalists at risk.

We hereby express our concern over the high level of vulnerability and serious risks brought on by digital violence against our work in defense of human rights. 

We demand that the Mexican government guarantee the work of SemMéxico, as well as the protection and security of the women defenders, journalists, and collaborators of the website. 

Likewise, we demand an exhaustive, impartial, prompt investigation of the facts leading to the identification of the intellectual and material agents responsible for these attacks along with the adoption of measures that ensure that the violations will not be repeated and that the personal and digital security of the journalists will be protected. 

And finally we express our total support and solidarity with Sara Lovera López and all members of SemMéxico as we stay on the alert for any further violations of their rights.