REYNOSA, Mexico – Mexican journalist Miguel Turriza rose to fame nearly a decade ago when he found himself reporting live amid an intense shootout in the drug violence-ridden border city of Reynosa.
Despite the deafening blasts and heavy gunfire in the confrontation between federal forces and a group of drug traffickers, Turriza kept up his live coverage, which ended with him lying face down on the ground in a scene reminiscent of a war zone.
“A few days later (the criminals) asked me if I valued my life,” said Turriza, who now works as a presenter for local radio station Radiorama. “A year later, they openly threatened me, saying that if they saw us near a confrontation or blockade, they were going to kill us.”
The video went viral, marking a turning point in Turriza’s career, now working as a foreign press producer.
At 55, he is a veteran journalist in Reynosa – one of the most dangerous areas in Mexico – where reporting is a mine field in which journalists must tread lightly.
“When you get involved in an incident, you have to take care of yourself, because it’s a risky situation,” he told EFE. “Journalists have become vulnerable.”
Thirteen journalists were killed in the border state of Tamaulipas between 2000 and 2015, the Articulo 19 press rights group said.
Twelve communicators were murdered nationwide in 2017, prompting Reporters Without Borders to define Mexico as the world’s most dangerous nation for journalists – not counting countries at war – along with Syria.
Carlos Dominguez was stabbed 21 times in Nuevo Laredo, becoming the first journalist to be murdered in 2018.
Local media outlet Mañana de Reynosa enjoys relative calm nowadays, but Guillermo Martinez – a crime reporter – was kidnapped and killed in 2010.
Today, the media company’s doors are armor plated after Mañana’s Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo branches were attacked.