HomeNewsBriefVeracruz, Mexico is LatAm's Epicenter of Violence Against Journalists
BRIEF

Veracruz, Mexico is LatAm's Epicenter of Violence Against Journalists

HUMAN RIGHTS / 6 FEB 2017 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Mexico's eastern state of Veracruz became the most dangerous place for journalists in Latin America during the regime of fugitive ex-governor Javier Duarte, according to a new report that illustrates how a corrupt state often represents the principal threat journalists face.

In its report "Veracruz: Journalists and the State of Fear," (pdf) Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières - RSF) reports 19 journalists were murdered and four more disappeared in Veracruz between January 2000 and September 2016. This means 20 percent of all journalist murders and 20 percent of disappearances in Mexico over that period took place in the state.

However, it is only after 2010, when Gov. Javier Duarte took power, that Veracruz claimed the mantle of the most dangerous Mexican state for journalists. In the six years of the Duarte administration, which came to an abrupt end when the governor fled to avoid corruption charges in late 2016, 17 of the murders and three of the disappearances took place.

According to RSF's research, although Veracruz is plagued by criminal networks such as the Zetas, the main threat to journalists has come not from organized crime but from the state, especially during the Duarte administration.

"Javier Duarte established a reign of terror for journalists throughout his six years as governor, from 2010 to 2016, in a climate of such impunity that he was able to openly and publicly threaten the media without ever being held to account," the report states.

The cartels, meanwhile, are "regarded in Veracruz as the armed wing of the politicians but they readily act on their own initiative when journalists get too interested in their affairs."

Violence against journalists in Veracruz has come despite it being the state with the most protective measures in place for journalists, with 18.6% of all Mexican journalists that receive protective measures residing in the state.

The report notes how this apparent contradiction is typical of the situation in Mexico.

"Mexico is paradoxically equipped with an impressive array of mechanisms and laws for protecting media personnel. The figures presented in this report unfortunately evince the glaring ineffectiveness of these mechanisms and the failure of the authorities," it states.

InSight Crime Analysis

The rise in violence against journalists as Mexico's drug war has spiraled out of control has been well documented. However, the RSF report brings focus to a side of this violence that is often neglected -- the role of the state.

Exposing the corruption of the state, either through personal enrichment or collusion with organized crime is often even more dangerous than exposing criminal networks, as the subjects in question have a legal reputation and status to protect. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

As RSF highlights, setting up mechanisms to protect journalists alone is not enough to combat these threats. To be effective, these mechanisms must be properly financed, supported and implemented. In addition, little progress can be made until there is an end to the impunity surrounding crimes against journalists; in Veracruz, impunity rates for crimes against journalist stand at almost 100 percent, according to RSF.

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.

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

ELN / 19 MAR 2019

In the aftermath of the closure of the Colombia-Venezuela border, criminal groups have seized control of illegal trails, known as "trochas,"…

MEXICO / 12 FEB 2016

A prison riot in northern Mexico has left 52 people dead, a stunning illustration of the chaotic and violent nature…

GAMECHANGERS / 5 JAN 2017

Mexico's militarized drug war hit its ten-year birthday during 2016, but with widespread insecurity, spiking homicides and new criminal battlegrounds,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.