Mexican newspaper asks drug cartels for advice on coverage


A RESPECTED Mexican newspaper has asked drug cartels for guidance on how not to offend them following a photographer’s murder, deepening alarm that drug-related violence has stifled media freedom.

El Diario de Juarez, the leading daily in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, published a front-page editorial on Sunday titled: “What do you want from us?”, which was addressed to the drug-traffickers.

Calling them “senores”, the newspaper asked what news it should and should not publish following last week’s shooting of a photographer, the paper’s second murdered journalist in two years.

“We want you to know that we are communicators, not mind-readers. We do not want more deaths. It is impossible to carry out our role in these conditions. Tell us therefore what is expected of us.”

In a blunt admission of Juarez’s lawlessness, it said: “You are, at present, the de facto authorities in this city because the legally mandated authorities have not been able to do anything to keep our colleagues from continuing to fall, although we have repeatedly demanded they do so.”

Even in war, there were rules to protect media workers, it added. “Therefore explain to us what is wanted of us in order to stop paying the price with the lives of our colleagues.”

The newspaper, which until now has chronicled the US border mayhem in detail despite fear and intimidation stifling other media organisations, was shocked by the September 16th gunning down of Luis Carlos Santiago (21), a photographer, and the wounding of an intern, as they left the office for lunch.

El Diariohad not decided to censor reporting, for now it merely wanted to know what cartels considered out of bounds, Rocio Gallegos, a news editor, said. “We want to know what their view is and that will inform our decision-making.”

The editorial was aimed as much at the government as drug lords, she said. – (Guardian service)