Snapshots

Who Is Killing the Journalists in Mexico?

Journalists are being killed, wounded and threatened at an alarming rate in Mexico since the US/Mexican war on drugs accelerated into a bloodbath of deaths, wounding and torture beginning in 2006. What is the impact of this brutal attempt to suppress the reporting of violence and crime in Mexico?

Take the newspaper El Mañana published in Nuevo Laredo. Unreported by US papers as far as Truthout could determine, El Mañana wrote an editorial on May 13th that it would no longer report on crime in the city (which sits just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas):

This newspaper is calling for the understanding of the public as we will abstain from publishing, for the time being, any news about the crime and violent disputes that our city suffers as well as other areas of the country.

The editorial board and administration of this paper has arrived at this lamentable decision due to the circumstances known by all – and due to the lack of conditions for the free exercise of journalism. [translated by Truthout]

The editorial was posted two days after the office of El Mañana was shot up by a fusillade of bullets during the night shift, although no one was wounded.

Not the First Attack on Journalists in Nuevo Laredo

It was not the first time that the Nuevo Laredo periodical was attacked. According to a Laredo, Texas, television station, El Mañana was shot up and reporters wounded in 2006. Roberto Mora García , the editor of the paper, was assassinated in 2004.

There have been other attacks in Nuevo Laredo on journalists, including the killing of Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro. Her murder by decapitation was, according to the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), “the first ever documented by CPJ worldwide that was in direct relation to journalism published on social media.”

Prior to El Mañana’s reluctant announcement that it would no longer report on crime, Nuevo Laredo experienced a macabre display of the barbarous toll of the war on drugs. As The Washington Post reported:

In a bold public display of the gang violence sweeping across northern Mexico, residents in the border city of Nuevo Laredo awoke at dawn Friday to find nine corpses of men and women hanging from a bridge at a busy intersection just a 10-minute drive from Texas.

A few hours later, authorities discovered 14 headless bodies wrapped in plastic bags, stuffed into a sport-utility vehicle in front of a Mexican customs agency. The 14 heads were later placed in plastic-foam coolers and left by armed men on a crosswalk beside the city hall, according to the attorney general in Tamaulipas state.

The True Number of Killed, Wounded and Tortured Journalists in Mexico Is Not Known

Mexico is undergoing an ongoing assault on journalists, including the killing in the last few years of at least 45 reporters and photographers, as estimated by CPJ’s Mike O’Connor. However, O’Connor, who reports from Mexico, explained to Truthout that the figure might be on the low side because the CPJ has rigorous standards for identifying who constitutes a working journalist. Furthermore, due to the lack of police investigations in the vast majority of murder cases, it is not clear how many journalists are killed for what they have revealed in print or just for knowing too much information. O’Connor must investigate much of the scant details available about the killings himself. Even then, doubt often lingers as to why a reporter or photographer died.

In addition, logically, the number of wounded journalists probably exceeds the figure for reporters and photographers who have been killed, but no statistics are kept of media survivors of attacks in Mexico. Nor is it clear how many newspapers or reporters have been shot at or intimidated without sustaining injury, as in the recent case of El Mañana.

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Who Is Killing the Journalists in Mexico?.

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