These Journalists Are Demanding Action Against The Violence That's Killing Them

"We will not allow [politicians] to be deaf and blind to our protests again, hiding behind the mask of fake solidarity, because justice and truth must be served."

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places to be a reporter, with six journalists alone killed there in 2017. This week, more than 70 media organizations and civil society groups are organizing to demand action against the violence.

Javier Valdez, a journalist from Sinaloa state, became the latest reporter to be assassinated when he was attacked May 15 by armed men in the streets of Culiacán. On June 3, an indigenous radio host from Guerrero was shot in the head while leaving her workplace. Just days ago the magazine Proceso was the subject of an attempted raid.

In response, Mexican journalists and news organizations have launched a project called #AgendaDePeriodistas, or "The Journalists' Agenda," to come up with proposals for media outlets and the government to guarantee their physical security. They're beginning with a series of roundtable discussions this week in Mexico City.

"Mexican society does not understand what it has lost when a journalist is killed," said Guillermo Osorno, a journalist with Horizontal.

According to the Mexican organization Artículo 19, which advocates for press freedom, around103 journalists have been killed since 2000. The group says many more have been harassed, and journalists around the country have reported increased aggression in the month since Valdez's murder.

Journalist Marcela Turati used the discussion to criticize a high-level government meeting Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto convened two days after Valdez's death to address violence against journalists. While reporters were invited to cover the event, none were represented on the panel of speakers.

Turati also noted that state governments and the police — not just the drug cartels — are responsible for the murders and disappearances of Mexican reporters.

Many say the government merely pays lip service to to the idea of protecting journalists. In Sinaloa, where Valdez was murdered, 274 journalists have sent a letter urging President Enrique Peña Nieto and the Sinaloan government to investigate the crime.

"We believe in a different Sinaloa and we believe that our work contributes to establishing it," the letter says. "We have said ENOUGH so many times to crimes against journalists and attacks on freedom of expression, fighting back with demonstrations and marches, pressuring the authorities, always without getting a response."

"We will not allow [politicians] to be deaf and blind to our protests again, hiding behind the mask of fake solidarity, because justice and truth must be served, and it must never happen again."

"If all citizens cannot live in peace, you do not deserve to do so either. Do your jobs. Honor your word. Take a chance and govern. Accept responsibility for fear."

This post was translated from Spanish.

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