Drug War Claims Lives of Mexican Journalists, Too
Journalists covering the drug war in Mexico face murderous cartel retaliation.
A ceremony has been held in Mexico City to commemorate the Mexican journalists who have lost their lives while covering their country's drug war—and to protest violence against the press. The crowd chanted, "He shouldn't have died" as each name was called. Four more reporters and photographers were killed last week in Veracruz—a violence-riddled region in Eastern Mexico—and at least 45 journalists have died or gone missing since 2006, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In latest round of killings, Regina Martinez, a respected investigative reporter, was found murdered in her home. "[Martinez] gave voice to the vulnerable, to indigenous people and to the oppressed" says a Veracruz-based reporter who asked to remain anonymous. He says that fear of cartel retaliation limits many journalists from reporting truthfully: "The situation of journalism in Veracruz has reached very high levels of fear. Perhaps it's safer for reporters to become like speaker cabinets that only say what others tell us. And we never investigate." Mexico did create a special prosecutor to protect journalists, but journalism advocate Rogelio Hernandez claims it is under-funded and futile: "They have demonstrated total inefficiency, ineffectiveness and ignorance." Last week, Mexican Congress approved a bill to protect journalists and human rights defenders by using rapid response teams to move threatened journalists to safety, among other actions. Over 50,000 Mexican lives have been reportedly lost to organized crime since 2006—according to journalists.