Juan Diego Quesada, diario El Pais.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto
Coverage of violence in Mexican media has diminished by half in the last year, this despite the fact that at least 50 attacks to the press have been reported in the first quarter of 2013.
Words like “organized crime” and “drug trafficking” have vanished from the Federal District´s media and the news reports in open television. This is happening despite the number of murders remains at about 1000 a month. The observatory of Media Accords (Observatorio de Acuerdo de Medios) believes this is because the new government has stopped talking about the “war on drugs”, a term used as mantra by former president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, and the fact that the new administration has stopped the exhibition of detainees along with their weapons and drugs.
Narco Banner with threats against Zocalo newspaper signed by Z42
Another reason is that some media outlets have stopped talking about the issue forced by threats. Saltillo´s Zocalo newspaper announced in March that they would stop covering drug related news in order to protect their employees lives. A few weeks later, Jaime Gonzalez, the director of a news site in Ojinaga, a small town south of the US border, was shot and killed. “This is most likely our last post” ended the post with which the website announced the death of their coordinator.
Far from diminishing, attacks against news reporters have increased 11%. Articulo 19, an organization that works for freedom of speech, has registered up to 50 attacks to the media; organized crime is believed to be behind 19 of those attacks.
To the Ojinaga reporter´s murder we can add the kidnapping of a news reporter in Veracruz, Sergio Landa, who has not been heard about since January 22nd. To this we have to add the kidnapping of 5 employees of the newspaper “El Siglo de Torreon” that didn´t belong to the editorial staff. They were freed 24hrs later, but the newspaper´s building was attacked by commandoes 3 times in the following week. One worker of a nearby factor who was just walking by, was killed by a stray bullet. Coahuila state is at the head of media intimidation. During this period the facilities of both “El Diario” and “Canal 44”, in Cd. Juarez, were shot.
Police officer seen through a bullet hole in El Diario´s glass door.
The organization´s report regrets the null interest shown by authorities to find and punish those responsible: “The impunity in which the criminals hit the media has encouraged more attacks against freedom of speech and imposes silence to media outlets as editorial policy.
Under this context we also have statements such as the ones made by Cd Juarez police chief. Julian Leyzaola called the media “black points”. “The only thing they are doing is that they are building their own grave” he said. With friends like that, you are sure to have lots of enemies.