CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Mike O'Connor

CPJ Mexico Representative Mike O'Connor is a veteran journalist who has reported for news organizations including CBS News, National Public Radio, and The New York Times. He is the author of the CPJ special report, "Journalist murders spotlight Honduran government failures."

Blog   |   Mexico

Program to protect reporters raises doubts in Mexico

Journalists in Mexico protest violence against the media. They say they do not trust the government to protect them anymore. (AP/Guillermo Arias)

The Mexican government is currently putting together a program, it says, that will help reduce one of the most brutal problems for journalists: their lack of protection from death threats from drug cartels, government officials, and ordinary criminals. Senior officials at the Ministry of Interior told CPJ that they expect to offer at-risk journalists a range of protective measures, including bodyguards, armored cars and/or stipends to relocate to other parts of the country.

November 9, 2010 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Doubt cast on confession in Rodríguez murder

The man who Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa said had confessed to taking part in the murder of reporter Armando Rodríguez Carreón was tortured, the newspaper El Diario in Ciudad Juárez reported today. On Wednesday, Calderón told a delegation from CPJ and the Inter American Press Association about the man's alleged involvement in the killing. Mexico's attorney general, Arturo Chávez Chávez, cast the confession as a breakthrough in the case. 

September 24, 2010 5:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican journalist said things ‘very hard’ just before murder

Over the weekend I spent several hours with two prominent journalists in Chilpancingo, Mexico, wondering who murdered their colleague Jorge Ochoa Martínez on January 29, and hearing about some of the seemingly unbearable pressures on Mexican journalists. Ochoa was shot in the face as he was leaving a birthday party for a local politician in the town of Ayutla de los Libres.

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels blow the whistle on news coverage

A Mexican soldier carries blocks of cocaine for incineration in Matamoros. (Reuters)

On Thursday, I wrote about the murder of reporter Valentín Valdés Espinosa on January 7 and how the Mexican media has silenced its own coverage of the killing. Today, I will get into how journalists and drug cartels have entered into a dangerous, symbiotic relationship.

January 15, 2010 10:56 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Media self-censors after killing of Mexican reporter

Valdés (Zócalo de Saltillo)

Twenty-nine-year-old reporter Valentín Valdés Espinosa was picked up by gunmen in two SUVs from the streets of downtown SaltilloMexico, late at night on January 7. He was tortured, bound by his hands and feet, and dumped at the Motel Marbella, where they shot him dead, according to state investigators, who discovered him early Friday. Another reporter abducted with him was beaten and released.

No reporter in the city has published a story that touches on why their colleague was killed. In fact, Valdés’ newspaper, Zócalo de Saltillo, is going in the other direction. It will stop reporting on anything about organized crime, according to a senior editor who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety. The paper, he said, is not going to investigate the murder of its reporter.

January 14, 2010 11:39 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

From deathbed, Mexican journalist makes accusation

In the course of investigating the December 22 murder of newspaper owner José Alberto Velázquez López, CPJ discovered allegations of corruption that often hover over crimes against journalists in Mexico. The first thing I heard was that the authorities in the town where Velázquez worked had ordered his murder. In Mexico, officials are often seen as lethal adversaries of the press. And, sometimes they are. But then a second common feature began to emerge: Rumors that the victim was somehow sleazy, maybe even involved in illegal activities. Yes, the victim was a journalist, but with something to hide. That, also, can be the case in Mexico—as well as complicate the search for the true motive for the crime.

January 5, 2010 5:13 PM ET

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