Editorial: Stop the Killing of Journalists

Editorial: Stop the Killing of Journalists
Emilio Gutiérrez Soto era corresponsal del periódico El Diario, de Ciudad Juárez
Foto: Ulises Ruiz Basurto / EFE

The number of journalists murdered in Mexico and the scale of impunity their killers enjoy are among the largest in the world. The neighboring country is going through a level of public insecurity that threatens all Mexicans. However, unlike the rest, communicators are singled out for the job they do and murdered to stop them from doing it.

To kill a journalist is to attack society as a whole.

It is an aggression against everyone who has a right to information. It is a stab wound to the population, who want to know what the officials they elected are doing. It is a victory for drug trafficking mafias, for corrupted politicians and for their silent accomplices.

The Mexico that kills journalists and never solves the murders is on a level similar to countries consumed by civil war such as Somalia, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan. In the Latin American nation, most journalists are killed by murderous corruption.

The three journalists murdered in March were separated by distance but united by their zeal to condemn a cancer that is eating Mexican society away. Tragically, that vocation to serve took them all to the same end.

Miroslava Breach was reporting the displacement suffered by indigenous people in Chihuahua. Their lands are being used by narcos to grow poppy plants to produce heroin.

Monlui Cabrera was writing about the internal conflicts and murky resources of Veracruz’s mayoral candidates belonging to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional). His last reports dealt with the sales of the area’s sugar mills.

Cecilio Pineda unveiled an alleged pact between high-level government officials in Guerrero, the State Prevention Police and a group linked to the Familia Michoacana cartel.

What these homicides have in common is an entanglement between drug rings and the state or local governments. It is no coincidence that Veracruz, Chihuahua and Guerrero are among the five states with the highest numbers of journalists murdered.

The Public Prosecutor on Crimes against Freedom of Expression of the Office of the Attorney General is supposed to be in charge of coordinating and supervising the investigation of these cases. Today, all it does is keep tally of the victims.

This is a monument to the ineffectiveness represented by the weakened role of the federal government in defending journalists against state governments. Mexicans need the voices of communicators to protect their democracy.