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Doing journalism in times of drugs war


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Doing journalism in times of trouble: Mexican war on drugs and freedom of expression

Doing journalism in times of trouble: Mexican war on drugs and freedom of expression

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  • 1. Doing journalism in times of trouble. War on drugs and freedom of speech in Mexico
    By María Elena Meneses
    Researchassistant: Talía Murillo
    March 11th 2010
    Tecnológico de Monterrey and University of North Carolina and Chapell Hill academicmeeting
  • 2. Mexico: a dangerous place for journalists
    Mexico is the second most dangerous country for exercising journalism
    after Iraq.
    International News
    Safety Institute, 2009
    Christoph Bangert
  • 3. Mexico: a dangerous place for journalists
    Tele Atlas, Transnavicom, Europa Technologies, 2010
  • 4. Mexico: a dangerous place for journalists
    Tele Atlas, Transnavicom, Europa Technologies, 2010
  • 5. Drug Trafficking: A Global issue
    International distribution networks
  • 6. InternationalDistributionNetworks
    European Parliament
  • 7. Drug Trafficking: A Global issue
    Mexico has fundamentally been a producer and distributor country through the known cartels and criminal organizations.
    Poppy flower in Guerrero La Jornada, March 2010
  • 8. North America
    The UN estimates that around 200 000 people a year consume drugs at least once a year.
    North America consumes the 75% of drugs.
    David Høgsholt
    UN and Organization of American States (OAS), 2009
  • 9. A great business
  • 10. A great business
    Worldwide: 320 billion dollars.
    Mexico: drug trafficking is worth 19 billion dollars, occupying half a million people.
    United Nations, 2009
  • 11. A great business
    Drug trafficking
    employed 25%
    more people than
    What Mc Donald’s
    did worldwide.
    Expansión magazine, 2009.
  • 12. A way to obtain a job
    In 60% of the Mexican municipalities there are people employed in organized crime.
    Ramón Galindo, Mexican Senator
  • 13. Mexican war on drugs
    Lack of opportunities
    Neighborhood with the US
    Benjamín Flores, 2001
  • 14. President Calderon’s war on drugs
    More than 30 000
    soldiers and policemen
    US moral and
  • 15. Mexican cartels
    New York Times, 2009
  • 16. Consequences
    15 thousand deaths
    More than 7 thousand traffickers captures
    One big lord
    Arturo Beltrán Leyva
    El Universal, 2009
  • 17. Consequences
    1 executionevery 65 minutes
    Violenceclimate in thewhole country
    MexicanSenate and Center forJournalism and PublicEthics
    Reforma, 2009
  • 18. Morelia’s drama
    Grenade attack, Independence Day, 2008
  • 19. How do criminals use journalists?
    Proceso foto, 2010
  • 20. Drug messages
    Proceso foto, 2008
  • 21. Ethical dilemmas
    To cover or not to cover?
    If I get a picture… am I an accomplice?
    Mario Campos, Proceso foto 2004
  • 22. Assassinations of journalists
    From 2000 to 2009
    57 journalists were killed
    in Mexico
    Most of them under impunity
    Trials are opened
    RSF, 2010
  • 23. 2009
    Jean Paul Ibarra, El Correo, murdered on February 13th
    Luis Daniel Méndez, murdered on February 23th
    Carlos Ortega, El Tiempo, murdered on May 3th
    Eliseo Barron, La OpiniónMilenio, kidnapped and murdered on May
    Martín Miranda, Panorama Radio, murdered on July 12th
    Ernesto Montañez, Enfoque Magazine, murdered on July 14th
    Daniel Martínez, Radiorama, murdered on July 27th
    12 Mexicanjournalistswerekilled
  • 24. 2009
    Norbert Miranda, Radio Visión murdered on September 23th
    Fabián Ramirez, Magia Radio station, murdered on November 11th
    Vladimir Antuna, El Tiempo de Durango, murdered on November 2nd
    José Galindo, Radio Universidad de Guadalajara found death on December 24th
    José Velázquez, Expresiones de Tulum.
    Source: Center for Journalism and Public Ethics.
  • 25. Violations against the freedom of speech
    183 journalists suffered from some type of threat or extortion in Mexico.
    Journalists are victims of Levantones ( express kidnappings)
    Most of them occured in Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla and Mexico City
    Source: Center for Journalism and Public Ethics.
  • 26. Violations against the freedom of speech
    In oneout of every threeattacks the police forces have been involved…
    the same forces that guarantee the order in times of organized crime.
    Proceso foto, 2009
  • 27. Implications for journalism
    Journalists do not count with reliable sources
    The official information is the one that flows but it is partial
    The coverage limits itself to give the list of deaths or traffickers captured
  • 28. Implications for journalism
    “The confusion is permanent: incessant crimes do not allow to distinguish sides or reasons, the dead bodies pile up each day in the front pages and do not allow to see the forest”
    (Mexican journalists talking about covering drug trafficking)
  • 29. Most violent cities
    Ciudad Juarez (Mexico)
    Caracas (Venezuela)
    New Orleans (USA)
    Tijuana (Mexico)
    Bagdad takes the 10th place
    Source: Citizen Council for Public Security
  • 30. Ethical dilemmas
    How to inform without being a speaker of the parts involved: the government or the crime?
  • 31. Ethical dilemmas
    Servando Gomez Martínez “La Tuta”
    (from La Familia cartel)
    interviewedby Milenio
  • 32. What has Mexican media done ?
    Televisa and Excelsior have decided not to record any narcomensaje
    But other media like Milenio
    have even interviewed criminals
  • 33. What has Mexican media done ?
    Others, like Proceso have stopped signing the news stories.
  • 34. What has Mexican media done ?
    Others have chosen self-censorship
    March in front of the PGR office in relationtocrimes and agressionstojournalists.
    Proceso foto
    December 2009
  • 35. What should journalists do?
    Spread the news, “as an independent monitor of any type of power”.
    Take care of themselves and media should provide them with training.
    Journalists should be responsible in their coverage.
    Take a field camp notebook, have a close relationship with their editor –to whom they must inform of all their steps.
    Also gather with sources in public places.
  • 36. What should journalists do?
    A journalist is not the prosecutor, he is just a translator that explains and helps understand the complex reality of society.
    Reports, statistics and sources’ testimonies should be confronted. Using leaks it’s OK, but through an accurate verification.
  • 37. What Society needs to know…
    Authorities corruption
    Army, policemen and politicians
    Money laundry
    Conflict of interest
  • 38. The case of Colombia
    To move journalists from zones of risk to safer ones.
    Provide training in the coverage of organized crime.
    Give life insurances and protection to family members of the journalists at risk.
    Lower the number of assassinations through intelligence reports.
    Plan Antonio Nariño
  • 39. Thankyou
    María Elena Meneses
    Former TV journalist
    Professor and researcher at Tecnológico de Monterrey
    My blog:
    Talía Murillo Monroy
    Journalismstudent at Tecnológico de Monterrey
    Assistantproducer at MVS Noticias
  • 40. Special Thanks to:
    -Reuters TV Mexico bureau
    -Center for Journalism and Public Ethics for bringing us The Anual Report one day before it went public. The complete report 2009 :
    • Jorge Luis Aguirre
    • 41. ItzelBarrónChirino