Mexico is among the world’s most dangerous places to be a journalist, with a record number of journalists being killed in Mexico this year. We explore this in the autumn issue of Index on Censorship magazine 2017, which features two excellent articles on the dangers journalists face in the country today.
In an in-depth exclusive for Index, Duncan Tucker writes: “A record 11 journalists were murdered in 2016, and 2017 is on course to surpass that grim tally.”
Tucker says that Mexico’s drug war has brought record murder rates in 2017 and that this trend looks set to only get worse, with next year’s elections likely to cause further instability across the country.
“More than 100 Mexican journalists have been murdered since 2000 and at least 23 others have disappeared.”
“According to the Committee to Protect journalists, 95% of those killed in direct retaliation for their work are reporters for publications, which are typically in remote regions where the rule of law is undermined by rampant crime and corruption.”
“While journalists from the capital can retreat to relative safety after reporting in hazardous areas, local reporters are constantly exposed to the consequences of their work.”
Several local journalists are interviewed in the article, including Adrian Lopez, editor of a newspaper in the state of Sinaloa, who says: “We need professional help to understand and talk more about these things and the trauma that the violence could cause us.”
Alejandro Hope, a security analyst, says: “Federal authorities have failed to properly investigate and prosecute these cases.”
In the second article in the magazine to spotlight Mexico, journalist Tim MacGabhann is interviewed about his fictional book, which follows the life of a non-Mexican journalist in Mexico, who is haunted by the ghost of a colleague, a Mexican journalist. MacGabhann, who has reported from Mexico for Al Jazeera, amongst other publications, spoke of the protection foreign correspondents are afforded in the country and how this protection is not extended to Mexican journalists. The ramifications of this are becoming more visible at present.
“As foreign correspondents we depend on the work of local reporters, as fixers, to read their stories, and yet they pick up the tab,” says MacGabhann, who was visibly shocked by the growing tally of dead journalists this year when interviewed.
“NGOs can get you a panic button, one that you wear around your wrist or at home, but lots of journalists don’t use them. They’re too afraid because the person threatening you is likely to be a cop and you’re not going to call the cops about the cops.”
MacGabhann also spoke of his tremendous respect for journalists who continue to report there. Despite the violence, journalists continue to write and expose the country’s crime and corruption. They would rather be killed than stop reporting,” said MacGabhann.
For more information on the situation journalists face in Mexico and to read these articles, alongside other articles spotlighting Mexican journalists this year, please contact Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine at [email protected] or Jemimah Steinfeld, deputy editor, at [email protected]
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About Index on Censorship magazine
Index on Censorship magazine was first published in 1972 and remains the only global magazine dedicated to free expression. Since then, some of the greatest names in literature and academia have written for the magazine, including Nadine Gordimer, Mario Vargas Llosa, Amartya Sen, Samuel Beckett, as well as Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter. The magazine continues to attract great writers, passionate arguments, and expose chilling stories of censorship and violence. It is the only global free expression magazine.
Each quarterly magazine is filled with reports, analysis, photography and creative writing from around the world. Index on Censorship magazine is published four times a year by Sage, and is available in print, online and mobile/tablets (iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle Fire)
Winner of the British Society of Magazine Editors 2016 Editor of the Year in the special interest brand category.
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