Most dangerous activity in México? JournalismAndré Fernando Alba | May 17, 2017
In modern times, journalism is one of the most dangerous jobs. With its handling of information, and its search for truth, journalism has always been a most useful tool for democracies. Nowadays, journalists and reporters not only inform their audience on what is happening around the globe, but they often strive for justice. For this reason, criminal groups, drug cartels, and politicians have targeted them as public enemy number one.
What makes me extremely concerned is how insensible the world is to this situation. When I tell people I study journalism the common replies are: “Aren´t you afraid?”, “you are going to get killed”, “do you plan to have a family?”.
I´m aware of my job’s implications, and I think everybody that works in this niche is equally familiar with them. However, journalists like me want to have a family just like the one some of the victims of crimes against journalism had.
Yesterday, Javier Valdéz, one of the most prominent journalists in cartel related topics was executed in Culiacán. Today, several newspapers and news websites in México protested against yet another barbaric crime. Valdéz built a sturdy career that spanned for more than 30 years by reporting the horrors of drug cartels in Sinaloa. Yesterday, the cartel decided they had had enough, so they decided to eliminate him with gunshots. His work, however, will continue to make noise.
The murder of Miroslava Breach in Ciudad Juárez, one of the most dangerous cities near the border of El Paso and Chihuahua, left me without words. She was a very well-known journalist from La Jornada (a national newspaper) and Norte (Local newspaper) who was just dropping her child in school. As she was leaving, a van parked beside her and fired, ending her life. Her journal eventually shut down, for safety reasons.
In México, the families of journalists have been torn apart. Homes left without a mother, parents left without a son. In the last six years, there have been a total of 799 aggressions against journalists, including 48 killings. 99.7 % of these aggressions were not followed by a criminal sentence.
In the state of Veracruz, homicides reached the highest peak during the government of Javier Duarte. 17 journalists were killed and another 3 are still missing. Javier Duarte is currently under prosecution for one of the biggest frauds a governor has ever made.
I´m concerned about my profession. Journalists are meant to defend life and justice but the current state of the world represents an ominous arena for this path. With the help of God, light will find a way to shine through our words and into the hearts of people.