The administrator of crime monitoring Facebook page “Valor X Tamaulipas” has announced its permanent closure, highlighting the dangers facing citizen journalism in Mexico.
The Facebook page and Twitter account were taken down in early April following threats that included a gruesome video of a man apparently being beheaded.
A new site with the same name appeared shortly after the original closed, though in his closing statement the administrator said he was not involved in it.
In the statement, he wrote that organized crime had “won a battle” against him and his family, but not against his followers. He then stated: “I don’t know if you will believe that I have not surrendered [to organized crime] … But I have given all I can and it has begun to become clear that I am unable to administer the page, the reports, the risks, etc.”
InSight Crime Analysis
As the coverage of Mexican organized crime by traditional journalists has been impeded by threats and attacks in states like Tamaulipas, social media users have become increasingly important sources of information.
However, the dangers of this were demonstrated by the offer of a hefty reward for the identity of the Valor X Tamaulipas administrator, presumably made by criminal groups.
Some bloggers have gone to great lengths to protect their identity — such as the author of the famous Blog del Narco, who recently revealed in an interview that she moves every month to protect her identity. However, as the deaths of other Blog del Narco contributors in 2011 shows, no matter what precautions bloggers take, the risks remain high.
(InSight Crime’s Steven Dudley spoke to Al Jazeera about the rise of Mexico’s “narco-bloggers” — see video below.)