Aid agency CAFOD launched a photography exhibition in collaboration with The Guardian and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last week, which commemorates the Mexican reporters who have been killed since 2000.
‘The Silenced: Fighting for Press Freedom in Mexico’ is available online and brings together the stories of 55 reporters and media workers who were killed in Mexico between 2000 and 2012.
According to CPJ, Mexico is considered one of the worst places in Latin America for press freedom, and one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
Donnacha DeLong, president of the National Union of Journalists said:
“Decades of political corruption and human rights abuses in Mexico have created a toxic situation in which drug cartels have thrived.”
Drug-related killings have been increasing rapidly since 2006 when Mexican President Filipe Calderon launched a crackdown on drug cartels.
CAFOD research shows that by January 2011, an estimated 50,000 people including police, gang members, security forces, civilians and journalists were killed in drug-related violence.
The situation appears to be getting worse in the north of Mexico and the border areas, especially around Chihuahua. Mexico produces the majority of marijuana that reaches the US and is a supply route for both cocaine and heroin.
Most drugs trafficked in Mexico appear on the US market. Trade in the other direction includes the supply of weapons – over 80% of guns used by cartels are brought in from the US.
According to the NUJ there are significant dangers to reporting on cartels. “Journalists who try to report on what’s going on are paying the ultimate price for just doing their jobs,” says DeLong.
The photography exhibition aims to shed light on the dangers experienced by Mexican journalists and also to commemorate those who have been killed. CAFOD director Chris Bain says the exhibition remembers reporters “not just for their deaths, but for their dedication to rooting out the truth and laying it bare for the public to see.”
Images of Mexican journalists line the walls of the exhibition at The Guardian’s headquarters in King’s Cross. Each photo is captioned with the name of the reporter, who they worked for, and when and where they died.
Bain emphasises the need to protect “those who seek out wrongdoing and speak up against the perpetrators; they are society’s watchmen and women, and they are vital to the wellbeing of every family, community, region and country.”
For more visit http://fightingforpressfreedom.com/