MEXICO CITY – Reporters must reflect on the rise in homicides and attacks suffered by members of the media in Mexico and take concerted action to remedy the situation, two prominent journalists said on Wednesday.
Investigative journalists Lydia Cacho and Diego Enrique Osorno made their remarks at a conference in this capital whose initial purpose was to present a book on widespread impunity in the Aztec nation, “La ira de Mexico” (Mexico’s Ire), but which turned into an urgent call to safeguard freedom of the press following the fatal shooting of award-winning journalist Javier Valdez on Monday.
“We have to do something as a collective amid this growing situation,” which has resulted in seven murders of journalists thus far in 2017, Osorno said.
To that end, several press freedom organizations such as Articulo 19 and Periodistas a Pie and media outlets including The New York Times en Español and Animal Politico will promote a broad debate to examine which elements are fostering the use of violence in Mexico to silence reporters.
The goal is “to build an agenda, a plan of action, a roadmap for confronting this spiral” of violence, Osorno said.
Cacho, for her part, said it was essential that the dialogue include reporters based outside of Mexico City and that participants analyze problems such as the scant security that many media outlets provide to their reporters in outlying states.
Valdez was an award-winning reporter and founder of a weekly that covered organized crime and the Mexican drug war in the western state of Sinaloa, which is home to the like-named drug gang once headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
The journalist’s death came on the same day a reporter with a weekly in the western state of Jalisco, Jonathan Rodriguez, was murdered.
A total of 126 members of the media have been killed since 2000 in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work.