Mexico's regional newspapers limit coverage of cartels' role in drug violence, report shows

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  • November 18, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

A new report from the Fundación MEPI, an independent investigative journalism center, says that the regional press in Mexico cover less than 5 percent of killings, attacks and violence linked to organized crime in the country, and the silence imposed by the cartels has created "black holes of information."

The report, “México: The New Spiral of Silence” is an analysis of the coverage of 11 regional newspapers and the impact on the press of what has been dubbed "narcoviolence." “It's not that the pages of police news are empty, but that the newspapers focus on minor crimes or acts that have nothing to do with the drug world," the report says.

For example, during the first half of 2010, coverage of violence decreased, even though organized crime-related killings and attacks increased. In the majority of cases, the newspaper analyzed reported only 1 out of 10 incidents related to cartel violence.

The situation is particularly grave in the states of Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Hidalgo and Veracruz, even though other places likes Jalisco, Michoacán and Sonora also have been affected, added CNN México.

The war against drug trafficking in Mexico has its own media front, explained BBC Mundo. Authorities have warned local media and foreign correspondents that it's necessary to pay attention to more than violence, but journalists have said they can't ignore the insecurity that is shaking the nation. “I wish the situation in Mexico were an invention or exaggeration," Pablo Ordaz, a correspondent from the Mexican newspaper El País, said in his blog.

For more information, see this Knight Center map about threats to journalism in Mexico.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.