In our May 18 Facebook Live session, Senior Investigator Deborah Bonello spoke with Jan-Albert Hootsen, the Mexico correspondent for the Committee to Protect Journalists, about the recent murder of a prominent Mexican journalist and the broader security situation for the country’s press.
The conversation began with Hootsen discussing his recent trip to Culiacán, in Mexico’s Sinaloa state, where renowned journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas was murdered on May 15. Valdez, who earned widespread acclaim for his coverage of organized crime at the investigative news outlet Ríodoce, was killed in broad daylight near the office where he worked.
In addition, Hootsen and Bonello talked about the strong response to Valdez’s slaying from Mexico’s journalistic community, and how political factors have in the past impeded thorough investigations of violence against journalists, resulting in extreme levels of impunity for these crimes.
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Bonello and Hootsen also discussed how rising violence against journalists comes against a backdrop of rising violence more generally in Mexico, in part as a result of a flawed security strategy that has been associated with a long and growing list of grave human rights abuses.
Hootsen linked the risks faced by journalists to the government’s broader inability to protect citizens from criminal violence, and explained how journalists are affected in specific ways due to the nature of their work. He said that the threats faced by journalists, particularly those covering organized crime, create a “vicious circle of journalistic impotence” that reduces the ability of the media to inform the public about these important issues.
Watch the Facebook Live broadcast for the full conversation: