A good friend, who is a former foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, recently told me about the pressure he got from his editors during a recent reporting stint along the U.S.-Mexico border. "They only wanted me to come up with the big story on the drug war, to find breaking news over and over again," he said. "But nothing that big was happening in
By "action," he was referring to the dozens of weekly reports of attacks, torture, murders, disappearances, and even what appears to be random violence in Juárez, directly across from El Paso, Texas—one of the safest cities in the United States. Between March and September of this year, at least 40 people who received treatment for drug addiction at rehab facilities in Juárez were killed by gunmen; the reason why they were targeted remains unclear. Last month, Juárez' murder rate became the highest in the world, surpassing that of
While it's incredibly important to denounce this violence and inform the public, the general reporting trend coming out of
Former presidents of Peru and Bolivia spoke out against the recent media shutdowns in Venezuela and expressed an overall concern about the media’s future at an emergency meeting of Inter American Press Association (IAPA). At the meeting, held in Caracas on Friday, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo called the media shutdowns “a virus that’s expanding” and an action taken on by “real authoritarian governments.” Bolivia’s former president, Carlos Mesa, harped on Toledo’s comments saying that “everything that restricts freedom of speech is unacceptable.”
Ecuador closed a television station accused of espionage last month and Bolivia also has closed media outlets. Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner also recently proposed a law to break up Grupo Clarin, a media conglomerate, calling it a monopoly that has been abusing its power in Argentine politics.
President Hugo Chávez has denied accusations that his government is trying to silence opposition voices. Chávez’ government has announced plans to close 29 more radio stations, in addition to the 32 shut down just last month. The Venezuelan government cites invalid broadcast licenses or a failure to renew licenses as reasons for the closings.