There are growing warnings that Mexico’s drug war is stifling the freedom of expression and the right to information.
An online newspaper editor was this week granted political asylum in the United States after receiving death threats from cartels, and many more are hoping to follow. They say that by reporting on the country’s rampant drug-related violence they are themselves becoming targets.
Emilio Gutierrez, a Ciudad Juarez journalist seeking asylum, said:
“It’s an exasperating, sad, lamentable situation to feel so far away from your country and the family you left back in Mexico.”
“They made telephone threats saying they would burn me alive in my car. On the day I came to the United States, they made death threats directly to my family by phone,” added Ricardo Chavez from Radio Cañon in Ciudad Juarez.
El Diario, a leading newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, recently asked gang bosses in an editorial what journalists could report without compromising their safety. That came after the paper lost its second reporter to the violence which has made Mexico one the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work.
More than 30 media workers have died in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown against the cartels in 2006.