Mexico Drug War Takes Toll on the Press

October 14, 2010 Topic: Failed StatesMediaSecurity Region: Mexico Blog Brand: The Skeptics

Mexico Drug War Takes Toll on the Press

Against the backdrop of ever-increasing drug violence in Mexico , I have an op-ed at USA Today Online titled “U.S. in slumber as Mexico drug war rages.” The piece examines the impact the drug war is having on Mexico’s press in terms of the murderous violence toward journalists and their ability to report on the drug cartels. From the article:

It takes a brave person to be a reporter in Mexico these days if the intent is to cover the drug cartels. More than 30 journalists have been killed since 2006, making Mexico perhaps the most dangerous place in the world for members of that profession. The country is at least on a par with such countries as Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan. It has become so bad that several Mexican journalists have sought asylum in the United States, and at least one has been granted that status.

The ability of the drug traffickers to cow the Mexican press is yet another indication that the country is in deep trouble. There is a long litany of other depressing pieces of evidence. More than 28,000 people have perished in the fighting since Calderon launched his military-led offensive against the cartels in December 2006, and 2010 will set a new annual record. Once peaceful Monterrey, Mexico's economic heart, has become so dangerous that the U.S. State Department recently ordered diplomatic personnel at the consulate there to send their dependents home. American business executives, and even some Mexican ones, are sending their families to safe havens in the United States. Major shootouts and kidnappings have come to some of the most prominent resort areas, including Acapulco and Cancun.

At the end of the article I provide a concise policy prescription to address the problem. For this and the entire op-ed, click here.