Luke’s Lines: Journalists Killed In Mexico 11/09/15 : the chronicle.ie

Luke’s Lines: Journalists Killed In Mexico 11/09/15

| September 11, 2015

Ruben Espinosa, photojournalist. His murder has brought international attention back onto the plight of journalists in Mexico

Sadly, Freedom of Speech isn’t always a guarantee. It’s as dependent on time, place, and who’s in charge as much as anything else. The recent cases of murder of journalists in Mexico prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The most famous name of the journalists recently murdered in Mexico is Ruben Espinosa, but he is not the only one. (Ruben Espinosa was a photojournalist killed in the neighbourhood of Narvarte in Mexico City, on the 1st of August. He was killed along with Activist Nadia Vera and bystanders Alejandra Negrete, Yesenia Quiroz, and Mile Virginia.) In the month of August this year alone, 3 other prominent Mexican journalists have been killed in suspicious circumstances, their names are Adrian Martinez Lopez (another photojournalist), Juan Manuel Calderon Garcia, and Juan Heriberto Santos.   It is said that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist, with more than 100 journalists or people who work in the media having been killed or missing since 2000. Most of these crimes remain unsolved or unpunished, some would say deliberately so. The statistic that 90 per cent of the murders of journalists since 1992 in Mexico, have occurred without anyone being punished for the crimes, would seem to support this theory. There are currently online petitions to make the Mexican government do more to protect those who work in the media.

There is some debate about who the perpetrators of these murders are. While a lot of these killings can be attributed to the Mexican Drug Cartels, who are willing to kill anyone that would report on their activities, they don’t seem to be the only ones involved in these crimes. Corrupt politicians in Mexico who don’t want their corruption or involvement with Drug Cartels to be reported on, are often suspected to be the ones that order such killings, but since the Mexican government is hesitant to be open about such matters and journalists can end up dead for investigating anything of this nature, it’s hard to know for definite the extent of this problem.

This idea holds more weight when you consider the fact that Ruben Espinosa did not report on drug cartels crimes, but he was reporting on the protests by Mexican students over the disappearance of 43 student teachers in the State of Guerrero in the month of September last year. The protesters believe that these disappeared people were in fact murdered and these murders were covered up.   Ruben Espinosa had been receiving death threats for his work as far back as 2012 and had moved to Mexico City during June this year, as Mexico City has traditionally been a safe haven from violence for journalists in Mexico.

Currently, none of the culprits have been identified in the Ruben Espinosa case. Hopefully, more information will come out and justice will be done, but if members of the local government are behind it as many already suspect, then it looks like the truth will remain suppressed, and the status quo in Mexico will remain the same.

by Luke Kennedy

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