Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CBC I: The Current looks at violence in Tamaulipas Mexico

From CBC Radio I, The Current.Broadcast March 17, 2010Ana Maria Tremonti is the host

Mexico Drug War - Journalist

We started this segment with a clip of a woman who lives in the state of Tamaulipas in north-eastern Mexico. And she's describing what she is seeing on the side of the road as she drives past. Dozens, perhaps even hundreds of bullet casings. Cars riddled with bullet holes. Signs of the latest shootout in a drug war that is increasing in intensity.

But if you read the local newspaper, or turn on the television or radio, you won't find stories about drug-related crime. That's because many journalists are terrified of the consequences of reporting on the drug cartels. The intimidation has become so effective that Reynosa -- one of the state's largest cities -- has fallen under a de facto news blackout. And that's led to citizen journalism, this woman, and others trying to document what is happening and posting it on-line.

Roberto Lopez knows only too well how dangerous it has become for journalists to work in Reynosa. He is the Editorial Director with Milenio Television in Mexico City. Last month, Milenio sent a crew to Reynosa. But they were kidnapped and beaten trying to work there. We aired a clip in translation.

Franc Contreras is a reporter based in Mexico City. He has been following the situation in Reynosa.

Mexico Drug War - Analyst

It was the Dallas Morning News that originally reported that there was a drug-related news black-out in Reynosa. And the newspaper even pulled one of its reporters after he was approached on the street in Reymosa and told that he didn't have permission to be there. Mark Edgar is the newspaper's Deputy Managing Editor. He says that for security reasons, he won't go into specifics about that incident. But he says it's part of an on-going effort to strike a balance between getting the story and keeping the newspaper's reporters safe.

George Grayson has written several books about Mexico's drug war. He's a Senior Associate at the U.S. Center for Strategic Studies. And he says the situation in Reynosa is likely to get worse before it gets better. George Grayson was in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Listen to Part Two: