Silence or Death in Mexico’s Press

About This Report

This report was researched and written by Carlos Lauría, CPJ senior program coordinator for the Americas, and Mike O’Connor, CPJ’s representative in Mexico. Monica Campbell, a freelance journalist and former CPJ Mexico representative, and José Barbeito, CPJ’s research associate for the Americas, provided additional reporting.

CPJ research has identified Mexico as one of the deadliest countries in the world for the press and one of the worst nations in solving crimes against journalists. CPJ researchers have traveled the breadth of the country over the course of four years, interviewing dozens of journalists about the dangers of their work and the devastating self-censorship that has resulted from anti-press violence. CPJ delegations have met with high-ranking Mexican officials, including President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, to discuss the grave problem of impunity in attacks on the press.

This report examines the murders of 22 journalists and three media support workers, along with the disappearances of seven journalists, during the Calderón presidency, which began in December 2006. The report identifies systemic law enforcement failures and offers potential solutions.

CPJ gratefully acknowledges the vital work of contributing writers. The Chapter 3 sidebar, “Why I Went Into Exile,” was written by the former Ciudad Juárez reporter Luis Horacio Nájera. Colombian journalist and CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos wrote “How Colombian Media Met Dangerous Times,” the sidebar to Chapter 4. “In Tijuana, an Unlikely Anniversary,” the sidebar to Chapter 5, was written by Adela Navarro Bello, editor of the newsweekly Zeta. More complete author information accompanies each piece.

CPJ wishes to acknowledge the important research of the Inter American Press Association, and the contributions of Ricardo Trotti, its press freedom director and Press Institute director. We extend special thanks to the families and colleagues of the journalists who have been murdered or have gone missing. They graciously gave their time, and their input was invaluable.

CPJ is very grateful to the organizations whose generous support helped make this report possible. They include the Overbrook Foundation, which funds CPJ’s work in Mexico, and the McCormick Foundation, which supports our work in the Americas. They also include Bloomberg, whose endowment enabled the creation of our International Program Network of consultants and reporters based in Mexico and worldwide, and the Oak Foundation, which provides additional support for the network. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports our Global Campaign Against Impunity.

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