HomeNewsBriefThreatened Mexican Newspaper Group to End Organized Crime Reporting
BRIEF

Threatened Mexican Newspaper Group to End Organized Crime Reporting

MEXICO / 12 MAR 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A newspaper group in northern Mexico has declared it will no longer report on organized crime, becoming the latest media outlet to admit that it has been silenced by Mexico's drug war.

Zocalo, which publishes editions in four cities in the state of Coahuila, announced in an editorial: "The decision to suspend the publication of all information related to organized crime is based on our responsibility to ensure the integrity and security of our more than 1,000 workers, their families and ours."

"There are no security guarantees to fully carry out journalism," it added.

The decision follows a series of threats targeting the group's director, Francisco Juaristi, which appeared on "narcomanta" banners hung in several locations across the state.

Over the last month, Mexico has seen a wave of violence targeting the press. In February, five journalists from the newspaper El Siglo de Torreon, also based in Coahuila, were briefly kidnapped and threatened. The newspapers offices were shot up three times in three days later that month.

In early March, the director of news website Ojinaga Noticias, Jaime Guadalupe Gonzalez, was shot and killed in Chihuahua state. The same week, Ciudad Juarez newspaper Diario and TV station Canal 44 were both shot up on the same night -- although the authorities have stated that they do not believe the attacks were linked to organized crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Mexico has earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. According to the Inter-American Press Society, there have been 127 registered attacks against Mexican journalists in the last 12 years, and attacks have risen dramatically since then-President Felipe Calderon launched his assault on Mexico's drug cartels in 2006.

This is not the first time a Mexican publication has openly capitulated in the face of threats and violence. In 2010, one Ciudad Juarez newspaper published a front page editorial pleading with the cartels to "explain to us what you want, what you expect us to publish or stop publishing." The call followed the murder of two of its reporters in two years.

Following a grenade attack on its premises in 2012, Nuevo Laredo newspaper El Mañana announced that it would avoid "reproducing facts about violence that is a product of the war between criminal groups."

However, these cases are merely the most open expressions of the self-censorship that is rife in Mexico's conflict zones, which more commonly manifests itself as an individual survival tactic rather than an editorial policy. Journalists quickly learn what they can and cannot report, often leading to a stripped-down style, consisting of neutral facts shorn of information or context that could offer insight into the criminal underworld. This so-called "narco-censorship" is exacerbated by the fact that some newsrooms are infiltrated by criminal groups, who pay off members of the editorial staff.

The unrestricted and anonymous world of social media and blogging can provide an outlet for the type of crime reporting abandoned by the mainstream media. However, even this has not escaped the reach of the cartels and several people have apparently been murdered for their citizen journalism, emphasizing the extent of criminal groups' desire and ability to impose a media blackout about their activities.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EXTORTION / 2 MAR 2014

A report by Mexico's National Citizen Observatory reveals that extortion has grown nine-fold over the last 17 years, underscoring a…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 5 NOV 2012

The Knights Templar appear to have evolved from a mere spliter group of the Familia Michoacana…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 19 JUL 2012

Mexico is investigating two top judicial officials, who have previously issued favorable rulings for suspected drug traffickers, for ties to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.