Photo: Man wears mask reading, "Stop Killing Journalists"
As the drug war rages on in Mexico, the country’s press is becoming more and more stifled.
While HS News’ acquaintance behind the Narco Blog is still publishing the often-gruesome photos of the near-constant violence in Mexico, most media outlets have signed a pact to not publish such things, causing many to worry about the ever-declining amount of freedom the press has in Mexico.
The annual report from Freedom House, revealed that Mexico is showing one of the world’s quickest declines in press freedom. The pact the press was signed as journalists are intimidated and/or murdered, and newspapers are threatened and forced to print press releases from the drug cartels and other criminal groups.
“If the pact leads to fewer journalists being killed, that would probably improve the situation,” says Karin Karlekar, the managing editor of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Survey. “On the other hand, a codification of self-censorship will also make the situation worse. … It could be a situation where violence goes down but levels of self-censorship go up.”
Over the last decade, more than 60 Mexican journalists have been killed, with 10 of them losing their lives in just the last year.
The violence against the media in the country has elevated to such a level that some newspapers have resorted to asking the cartels which stories they would like published, in the hopes that the killing of their journalists stop.
In the Freedom House report, which in previous years had listed the country’s press as “partly free,” now has it listed as “not free,” joining the list of Cuba, Venezuela, and Honduras, as the only Latin American countries with that designation.