Mexico is easily the least safe location in the Western Hemisphere for journalists to report the news. One journalism professor from the University of Texas believes that journalists are at greater risk today than at any other time in the country’s history. The National Commission on Human Rights estimates that between 2000 and the last day of April of this year 84 journalists were murdered and another 19 disappeared.
Other journalists have escaped with their lives, but have been abducted and later released. Bombings of radio and television stations are also not uncommon. Some of those who report the news leave their jobs, flee their state, or move out of the country. The Sacramento Bee reports that of all these attacks against journalists only one person has been convicted of a crime and many doubt whether that individual was even involved in the case in which he was found guilty. Government officials often claim when journalists are attacked that it has nothing to do with their work.
The deaths and other human rights violations have had an enormous impact on journalism in Mexico. Some areas of the country are being referred to as “zones of silence” because reporters no longer report on organized crime. What specifically journalists may report on without a threat of repercussions, however, varies from one area to another.
Social media has become a popular source of news for many Mexicans, but even anonymous news reporters give up because of fear they will become the next victims of drug cartels. In the present state of Mexican journalism, some believe that there is no longer “accountability.” Criminal gangs and government officials are free to do as they please.
(Edited from Sacramento Bee)