Violence censors journalists in Mexico

This is a version of an article which appeared in Press Gazette last month.

While traveling home through Pánuco, Veracruz with his 16 year old son in late January this year, Octavio Soto Torres, journalist and director of the Mexican daily Voces de Veracruz, was shot at by four masked gunmen. This was just the latest in the ongoing litany of attacks against journalists in Mexico. Torres, who escaped alive, is known for his harsh criticism of local authorities.

As Mexico continues its transition towards a real democracy and the administration of President Felipe Calderon ups its fights against narco-traffick and organized crime in the country, journalists who cover politics, drugs and crime take huge risks. Attacks take place nearly every week and few are ever investigated, according to NGOs monitoring freedom of expression issues in the country.

Although fewer journalists were murdered in Mexico last year than during 2006, the levels of violence and intimidation against them have increased, according to the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) and Mexico’s own National Human Rights Commission.

So what are editors and journalists doing to avoid serious harm? Mostly nothing – literally. Continue reading

Drug-cartels kill journalists, says CPJ. But what about the Government?

left_cpj_logoDrug-fuelled violence against the press in Mexico is spreading. A report released yesterday by the Committee to Protect Journalists says more journalists are being killed or persecuted whilst covering the drug trade and the powerful Gulf and Sinaloa cartels in the country.

But the research from the NGO fails to address the high levels of violence perpetrated against journalists by Governmental networks that are being reported up by other organisations in Mexico. Continue reading