There have been several reports of journalists being gunned down in Mexico, with the fourth murder reported yesterday, 15 April 2017, in a mere span of six weeks.
Maximino Rodriguez-Palacios, a journalist for Colectivo Pericú, was shot dead outside of a shopping center in La Paz, in the state of Baja California Sur on 14 April.
According to the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index in 2016, Mexico ranks at 149th out of 180 countries for the safety of those a part of the media. Most of the countries that follow Mexico are countries in the Middle East and currently experiencing war. Syria, which ranks at 177th place, most journalism-related deaths have been accidental. However, the majority of journalism deaths in Mexico have been murders.
A newspaper based in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, El Norte, has even chosen to shut down after 27 years of production in the wake of employee Miroslava Breach’s murder after choosing to write about crime, drug trafficking and corruption for the paper. The 54-year-old was shot eight times outside her home in Chihuahua, and the gunmen even left a note saying: “For being a loud-mouth.”
Oscar A. Cantú Murguía, the owner of El Norte, noted in an interview with The Washington Post that the newspaper was struggling financially, but ultimately the death of a close colleague [Breach], hit home with him and thus made his decision final.
In a letter written by Cantú to mark the end of El Norte, he said that “Everything in life has a beginning and an end, a price to pay. And if this is life, I am not prepared for any more of my collaborators to pay it, nor with my own person.”
According to Animal Politico, 99.7 percent of the attacks on journalists in Mexico go unpunished.
— IFEX (@IFEX) April 16, 2017
It is clear that this is not a new issue for Mexico, as the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that 88 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 including those with no confirmed motive, and the numbers are increasing at rapid speed. Anger and outrage at Mexican authorities have escalated within the public for their failure to tackle the violence ensued against journalists who report on political corruption and organised crime.
Last month, local journalists protested at Chihuahua’s state congress, with signs that said “Ya Basta!” or “Enough already!”
Yet, no change has been seen, as journalists continue to be put in harm’s way. It is disheartening to know that lives in Mexico are lost at the cost of striving for justice and exposing corruption in the country. And the murderers are getting away with it.