A desperate plea from a Mexican newspaper


— Two of its reporters murdered in less than two years. The killings by
presumed drug gangs have pushed one of the leading newspapers in Mexico’s northern border region to make an unusual, sad plea.

“What do you want from us?” El Diario de Ciudad Juarez asks in a front-page editorial, addressing the traffickers who are fighting for control of Mexico’s deadliest city.

“Explain what it is that we should publish, or not publish, so we know what to expect.”

The editorial asks for a truce, adding, “It is
impossible for us to do our jobs under these conditions.” Saying the
newspaper is not surrendering, the editorial suggests it will
nevertheless change, perhaps diminish, the way it covers the drug war.

Many newspapers in Mexico impose a kind of self-censorship, avoiding coverage of violent drug cartels as a way to avoid angering them. El Diario de Ciudad Juarez had not been one of those papers and was known for its courageous reporting.

In November 2008, one of the paper’s star crime reporters, Armando Rodriguez, was shot to death as he took his daughters to school. And last week, Luis Carlos Santiago,
a 21-year-old photographer with just six months on the job, was gunned
down as he went to lunch with an intern, who was badly injured.

El Diario’s editorial was most scathing in asserting
that journalists will continue to die because the government does not
investigate killings and has lost control over much of the border
region. “You,” the paper says to the traffickers, “are at this time the
de facto authorities in this city.”


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