Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. Reuters

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Sunday slammed YouTube for removing a private telephone number of the New York Times Mexico bureau chief Natalie Kitroeff, which was disclosed during a news conference by the Mexican president.

The president claimed that the video-sharing company, which republished the video after removing private numbers under harassment and cyberbullying policies, is showing an authoritarian attitude through censorship.

The incident took place on Thursday when Obrador was read a letter from the Times that requested his comments on a report about the U.S. government's ongoing investigation on his allies, alleging that they took millions of dollars from drug cartels in 2018.

After reading the request letter, he also read the Times bureau chief's phone number, disclosing it to the public. Following the conference, the Times immediately issued a statement and called this a "troubling and unacceptable tactic from a world leader," Reuters reported.

Times pointed out that making a journalist's number public like this in Mexico, especially when the journalists are investigating criminal gangs, is not appreciated.

Obrador told the reporters after the press conference, "She is slandering us and if she is very worried, then she should change her phone number. Above the personal data protection law, there is the dignity of the president."

Soon after this, a few social media users leaked private numbers of one of the sons of Obrador alongside both candidates - Claudia Sheinbaum from the ruling MORENA party and rival Xochitl Galvez - who will be running for the upcoming elections in June.

Galvez said over the weekend that since her number got leaked on social media, she received many messages, including some supporting the party and others criticizing. However, she confirmed that she is not planning to change her number.

As far as condition in Mexico is concerned, last week tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across Mexico and abroad, protesting against the ruling party and the president as they demanded free and fair elections in the country.

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