A Deadly Time to be a Journalist


Mexican journalists are dying at an alarming rate in Mexico — the country is the deadliest place in the Americas to be a journalist, and among the deadliest in the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, says at least 24 have been killed since 2000, and seven have vanished in the past three years. (That number has surely risen.) Many of the victims had reported on police ties to cartels. Some are suspected of accepting drug money, but it’s difficult to determine because the killings are barely investigated. Of the 24 cases, the committee said, only one had been solved. Some gunmen attacked specific journalists, and others entire newsrooms.

The war on journalists — both by thugs and police negligence — has changed the way most border publications do their work. Stories on drug casualties and corruption run with no bylines, and only the bare facts run without further investigation. A few brave teams based in Mexico City still travel up to the border to report on drug-related violence, but their trips are becoming less and less frequent. A friend told me that a team of photographers returned to Mexico City from a trip last year to Ciudad Juarez the very next day.

All of which makes this story by gifted writer Charles Bowden even more shocking. I always assumed drug cartels and corrupt police were Mexican journalists’ most viral enemies. Turns out, we need to add the Mexican army to that list, too.

And here, an earlier Human Rights Watch report on Mexican army torture allegations.

Photo via TIME


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