Violence: The media is silent
An activist takes part in a protest against journalists who have been killed in Mexico - Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS

Violence: The media is silent

Mexico City
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EL UNIVERSAL and Google News Initiative registered that in 10 states, media outlets are staying silent in regards to violence

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Violence is a reality in Mexico. It is not generalized, it is focalized in certain areas, nevertheless, the number of intentional homicides registered in 2018 reached a historical and alarming record.

Despite the alarming numbers, EL UNIVERSAL, in collaboration with Google News Initiative, registered that in 10 states, the media has decreased the number of news and articles about homicides in 2019, in contrast with previous years. Through artificial intelligence systems, it was found that Chihuahua, Nayarit, and Quintana Roo are the states that reported the least news about homicide perpetrated in those locations.

An exact cause to explain the silence in the media can't be established. In many occasions, the self-censorship is the result of threats from criminal organizations. Newspaper in northern Mexico, especially in Tamaulipas, revealed they would stop publishing information in regards to homicide years ago, after being threatened by drug cartels and criminal groups. In Tamaulipas, the threats against newspapers and reporters were constant and the attacks disproportionate: from grenades to car bombs. Other times, the media was able to define and decide how to report violence.

Silence is reprehensible when it is the result of normalizing violence and homicides when they become so frequent that they are no longer considered as news.

The importance of sharing these events is not to spread fear but to portray reality, one that has to be improved.

In certain occasions, silence comes from authorities who evade the issue. For example, in Mexico City, the previous administration always denied the operation of organized crime. Hiding or denying reality only contributes to the problem because authorities don't adopt the necessary measures to fight violence.

Presenting information, numbers, and rigorously examine violent events and those involved is more useful than trying to ignore the situation. In Mexico City, the Investigation Police made an analysis that details that since the new administration took office, it has registered 730 intentional homicides and that at least 266 of them, almost 40%, are linked to vendettas. The study clearly explains the profile of the victims and the murderers, as well as the places where these homicides have taken place, key elements to implement new strategies to fight crime.

It is always more useful to know and accept reality, as difficult as it is, rather than hiding the facts.


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