"The great mistake is to live in Mexico and to be a journalist"
-- Javier Valdez, in his 2016 book Narcoperiodismo
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a working journalist.
When reporter Javier Valdez was pulled from his car and executed in Culiacán, Sinaloa on May 15, he became the sixth member of the Mexican press to be killed in two months. The growing number is a disturbing reminder that everyone is targeted, no one is safe: print journalists, TV and radio reporters, photographers, editors, owners. In a decade-long wave of violence against journalists, parents have been gunned down in front of their children; children in front of their parents. Murders take place in the dead of night or in broad daylight; in one of Mexico's 32 states or in the middle of Mexico City.
The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that 25 journalists have been killed since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012. Although their murders took place independent of each other, the targeted shared a commitment to documenting aspects of drug trafficking and political corruption. In response, the Mexican government has been worse than silent: there have been almost no successful convictions of a journalist's killer. The government's inaction and failure to protect the press endangers not only reporters, but also freedom of expression and even Mexico's democracy.
As members of the international press community, we have an opportunity to stand with Mexico's journalists and to urge the Mexican government to act.
Our voice is our strength: join us in publishing or broadcasting news articles, opinion pieces, editorials, political cartoons, blogs, photographs, tweets, Facebook posts, or any other form of journalism to be published on Thursday, June 15, one month after Javier's murder. The content is up to you - you can address his killing specifically, attacks on Mexico's press in general, the impact of violence and impunity on freedom of expression, the government's inaction, its failure to protect its journalists, the response of journalists worldwide. If all you're able to do is a link to a published article or post that says it all for you, that too is welcome. We only ask that you tag your piece, post or Tweet with the hashtag #ourvoiceisourstrength and/or #nuestravozesnuestrafuerza as a way of signaling to the Mexican government and to Mexico's press that this is a collective effort.
Our voice is our strength. Join us in letting Mexican journalists know they are not alone, and the Mexican government see that the world is watching, and waiting for a solution.
1. Plan to publish or air a piece related to violence against journalists in Mexico on Thursday, June 15 in commemoration of Javier Valdez's assassination on May 15
2. Associate the hashtag #ourvoiceisourstrength and/or #nuestravozesnuestrafuerza with your piece so that it will be recognized as part of a collective effort
3. Pass this message on to your international journalist contacts, colleagues and friends! Do it quickly, so people have time to respond and prepare something for June 15.
4. If you think of it, let us know that you will publish or air something on June 15 so we have a sense of the community's response.
5. Everyone should craft their own approach/pitch to their jefes so that their institutions are on board -- if such permission is needed.
Kate Doyle, Senior Analyst, National Security Archive - [email protected]
Tim Weiner, author and journalist -- [email protected]
Susan Ferriss, Senior Writer, Center for Public Integrity - [email protected]
Ricardo Sandoval, Managing Editor, 100Reporters - [email protected]