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Journalism at risk in Mexico by narco

Posted byShinji_Harper on Sunday, October 19, 2008
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New York. EU.- Agencies -   The practice of journalism in Mexico, is in latent risk by drug cartels, who have committed murder and unleashed threats against journalists represents an attack on the freedom of expression that requires immediate action by the authorities and solidarity the world press.

So they agreed on journalists, academics, activists and students of social communication at the conference entitled "Silenced by fear," sponsored by the School of Journalism at Columbia University   where the dangers that drug trafficking poses to Mexican journalists were analyzed.

The issues addressed by invited experts say that corruption, impunity, lack of appropriate laws and indifference of large segments of society have exacerbated the risk in the practice of journalism in Mexico.

  According to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists. To date, seven journalists have been killed   since 2000 and over 16 for reasons not established, that in addition to the constant clashes between drug traffickers and police military, Mexican communicators hance their coverage in the crossfire.

"Journalists are in an incredibly vulnerable position that certain types of coverage that might seem routine could be perceived as favorable to one side and unfavorable to the other," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director.

Others highlighted the enormous pressures and attempts to intimidate journalists who are covering the drug business.

"If a journalist refuses to subpoenas, is fined, arrested, is required to appear in court. If the journalist states then his testimony is interpreted by drug traffickers as an accomplice of his enemies and puts a price on his head ... the reporter has no guarantee to work, only you can provide himself managing the information obtained and in many cases fleeing to avoid being attacked, "said Alfredo Quijano, editor of Norte de Ciudad Juárez.

Some speakers noted that the problem is much broader: "We are a corrupt society, we must accept this agreement to change," said Gerardo Priego Tapia, member of the National Action Party (PAN), who heads a commission investigating violence against journalists .

"The two main sources of aggression against journalists are organized crime _ _ not only drug trafficking and corrupt authorities. But the most serious for any journalist in Mexico scenario is the alliance between these two, "he added.

Corruption among journalists themselves generated particular concern. Ramon Cantu, editor of the New Morning, Nuevo Laredo, complained that "unfortunately corruption is one hundred percent in the media. There are many means to convince you, you buy or kill you, because they work for the cartels. It is very difficult to work this way, taking the enemy within. "

Some speakers, such as Ramón Alberto Garza, president of Indigomedia proposed the internet as a way for journalists to circumvent censorship and media concentration, but others, like Dr. Denise Dresser, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM ), noted that entails limitations due to the high cost of broadband connections.

One of the proposals most mentioned by activists as the CPJ and the Inter American Press Association, was to make crimes against freedom of expression are federal crimes, "so you can have all the weight of the branch's powerful government, instead of having a divided Congress or local judges and courts are much more vulnerable, "said Paul Steiger, chairman of CPJ board member and editor of ProPublica.

Meanwhile 13 civil society organizations, they released last August   its Press Freedom in Mexico Report: Shadow of Impunity and Violence   which is a deep investigation into the situation of Mexican journalism, which concluded that the country is one of the   most dangerous for journalists in the Americas.

In the past eight years, says the paper, at least 24 journalists and media workers have been killed, eight others remain missing and dozens have been threatened, intimidated or assaulted because of their craft. Most attacks on journalists is in total impunity, causing a generalized state of self-censorship.

Download the full report ...


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