Why Isn’t Mexico Protecting its Journalists?

An uproar is sweeping across Mexico after photojournalist Ruben Espinosa was found murdered in an apartment in Mexico City. Found along with four women, Espinosa had been shot with a 9mm, and his body showed signs of torture. Espinosa had fled to Mexico City from his home state of Veracruz after saying he was being harassed and feared for his life.

Although the police have said they have a suspect in custody, many in the public simply don’t buy it. They think the government is behind these murders and that it’s time for them to be held accountable.

Mexico is one of the worst places in the world for journalist safety, ranking below Chad, Colombia and Zimbabwe in Reporters Without Borders Freedom of Press Index. It has always been difficult to get official numbers, but many are saying that within Mexico as a whole, over 100 journalists have been killed since 2000. This report does not include journalists who have “disappeared.”

And while there have already been multiple murders this year, the weight of Espinosa’s death, especially within the capital city, is seen as different.

This is because Mexico City has long been thought as a place of refuge for journalists who are threatened in their home states. It is one of the reasons Espinosa fled there in the first place. But as reporters across the country woke up to the news of his murder, many realized there are no safe havens left.

Many of the murders are connected to reports on corruption, drug trafficking and human trafficking. A look at murders of journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows there is a serious bias in just what kind of journalist is often found dead.

The vast majority, up to 79 percent, of journalist deaths, are those who have covered crime and corruption beats. When compared to other beats, such as sports journalism which accounts for only 2 percent of murders, it begins to show a skewed bias and inherent danger towards journalists who threaten the status quo of traffickers and corrupt government leadership within the country.

Indeed, many are now looking at Javier Duarte, the governor of Veracruz and Espinosa’s home state as the main culprit. Although Governor Duarte put out a statement saying he “lamented” the death of Espinosa, many were quick to to criticize the governor, noting this is the eleventh journalist killed from Veracruz since Duarte took power.

On Twitter, one user asked how the government could investigate itself, saying the “popular voice” blames the governor for these murders:

tweet

Voices of dissent within Mexican media are now holding protests and expressing shock and outrage at this latest murder. Heriberto Paredes, a freelance journalist, told the Global Post that, “For us journalists who cover social movements and problems involving state authorities, these murders confirm our concerns that our lives are definitely in danger.”

Members of the media walked to the capitol building in Mexico City holding signs that called for Duarte’s resignation and demanding justice for the “obscene” amount of slain journalists.

However for now the same old power structures hold and many journalists inside Mexico feel their lives are at stake because of it.

Photo Credit: EneasMx/Wikimedia

43 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

The country is corrupted! Why go over there to have vacations and get aways? They can not guarantee your safety.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran2 years ago

this is very sad.

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Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you...

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thank you

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Ernest R.
Ernest R2 years ago

@ Shirley S. "Journalists are BRAVE people who are trying to report the truth" They certainly are. I can't imagine the courage necessary to even defy the imposition of the "plata o plombo" [silver or lead] rule in that miserable excuse of a country. Oops! Did I write something racist ? Sorry. Wonderful country full of people who just want a better life for themselves and their families.

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Dt Nc
Dt Nc2 years ago

Freedom of the press is essential for a free country. Hopefully the people of Mexico will wise up and stand up for those who tell the truth. United you stand, divided you will fall.

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Ricky T.
Ricky T2 years ago

Great country, sadly, dented by corruption.

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Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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