On Friday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador denounced what appeared to be an assassination attempt on a well-known television anchor and the president’s foe, who said that gunmen had opened fire on him as he was driving his car.
Ciro Gomez Leyva, a television and radio host, said on Twitter that two unidentified motorbike riders fired at him while he was around 200 meters (660 feet) from his home on Thursday night. He also posted pictures of the motorcycle’s damage from the bullets.
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.