worldwide freedom of expression day being a journalist in mexico

Worldwide Freedom of Expression Day: Being a Journalist in Mexico

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Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Zeta

                                Friday, May 3 was Worldwide Freedom of Expression Day

May 3rd: Freedom of Expression Day, we pay tribute to all journalists, living and dead, who decided to fight for their profession and do their job no matter what happens. We honor them with journalism, with 10 reports on what it means to be a journalist in Mexico, in 10 of the most vulnerable states for the press. Because if we have learned something with your work, it is that:  “We have to talk”.

On the Freedom of Expression Day, Horizontal launches the project “Being a journalist in Mexico”, which gathers the experience of those who practice the trade in 10 of the most vulnerable states in the Republic.

Through the experiences of El Mañana in Tamaulipas, La Jornada in Veracruz, La Verdad in Chihuahua, Lado B in Puebla, La Talacha in Nuevo León, Diario de Yucatán, Ríodoce in Sinaloa, El Sur in Guerrero and ZETA in Baja California, Horizontal has built this effort.

       Alejandra Sánchez Inzunza and José Luis Pardo, project coordinators, explain it this way:

-Why does someone in Tamaulipas, Veracruz or Guerrero decide to be a journalist?

What kind of student in these states with high rates of violence, where the stories of murdered journalists are recurring, where there are thousands of dead and missing and attacks against the press are a daily thing, decides that it seems like a good idea to devote oneself to journalism?

When you listen to the stories of journalists in the states, you can not help but be horrified. One, as a journalist, you just can not believe the degree of threats, tension and suffering that these local heroes get for doing their job. Plus, it is difficult to understand also why someone would be willing to submit to all this to tell the truth, to give voice to those who need it, to understand what is happening around them.

For almost a year now, at Horizontal, we have had to talk, we are a blog against silence in Mexico; a space that dozens of journalists have taken to tell their story or their vision about the challenges and problems that affect the press in the country. More than a disclosure, the blog has been a catharsis, a kind of divan that serves as relief to a discouraging scenario. 

There has been talk of violence, aggressions, protection mechanisms, labor rights, corruption, official publicity, power and censorship, among other issues. The underlying problem is always the same: there are no conditions to do our work, but we still do it.

Why? There is not much logic behind it. From Mexico City it is easy to champion freedom of expression and see journalism as a passionate profession for which it is worth giving everything, but for those who really live in these places it is something else. It is a motivation that is not well known or where it comes from. From an inexplicable place in the mind hidden between courage and foolishness.

Local journalists are superheroes without superpowers, who do not always have the necessary tools to do their job, and still do and face politicians, self-defense groups, criminals, caciques, businessmen, drug traffickers, paramilitaries and other actors who oppose the free journalism. There are no rights, nor good salaries, nor guarantees that this is worthwhile, but they decide to be a journalist in the most dangerous country in the world for the press, after Syria, which is Mexico.
                                CNDH registers 147 journalists killed in Mexico since 2000:
In the framework of World Press Freedom Day, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) presented a report in which it stated that since 2000 a total of 147 journalists were murdered in Mexico, of which 15 were women .
The report also details that since 2005 there are 21 missing communicators and 52 attacks against media facilities since 2006.
The CNDH also condemned the threats in social networks is a phenomenon that is increasing so they urged the authorities of the three levels of government throughout the country to “develop, implement and operate” prevention measures that “guarantee life, integrity, freedom and security of journalists.”
According to the data provided, the states with the highest number of homicides of journalists are Veracruz with 22; Tamaulipas, Guerrero and Oaxaca with 16; and Chihuahua with 14.
The commission also condemned and expressed outrage over the murder of Telésforo Santiago Enríquez, founder of the indigenous community radio “El Cafetal de San Agustín”, who acknowledged that in the radio stations he exposed his analysis and criticism of the government’s work.
“Recently he publicly denounced the municipal authorities of the region for alleged diversion of resources. In addition, he was a professor of indigenous education”, they said in their Twitter account.
For this reason, they asked the Government of Oaxaca and the Office of the Prosecutor of that entity to safeguard the life and safety of their relatives, as well as their colleagues in the radio broadcast where he worked.

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