"Reportero" documentary in Chicago this weekend

"Reportero" documentary in Chicago this weekend

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist.

A new documentary, "Reportero," shows the courage of the journalists at one Tijuana newspaper. It is playing in Chicago this weekend and the film's director, Bernardo Ruiz, will speak about his work.

The documentary chronicles the murder of Hector Felix Miranda, a columnist, who was murdered in 1988, and the ongoing struggle of journalists at his newspaper.

Back in the 1980s it wasn't as common for journalists to be murdered in Mexico. The drug war has resulted in the death of more journalists in the last six years since President Felipe Calderon took office. Mexico will elect a new president in July.

More than 45 journalists have been killed or disappeared in Mexico since 2006, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ.)

"Freedom of expression is at risk," said Rocio Gallegos, an editor at El Diario de Juarez.

I heard her speak last fall when I was a visiting professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Her newspaper was among the 2011 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize given by Columbia University for outstanding reporting on Latin American and the Caribbean.

Gallegos explained that there are silent zones in Mexico where for fear many reporters aren't able to report on what is happening.

But her newspaper has not given up on covering the violence even though one of their reporters, Armando Rodriguez, and a photographer, Luis Carlos Santiago, have been murdered in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

On May 13, a Nuevo Laredo newspaper, El Mañana,  announced that it would no longer report on the drug war or the drug cartels, according to CPJ.

"The newspaper will abstain for as long as necessary from publishing any information about the violent disputes that our city and other regions of the country are suffering," according to an editorial in the newspaper. "The administrative and editorial councils of this company have reached this regrettable decision, which was caused by the circumstances we all know about, due to the lack of conditions for the free exercise of journalism."

Just two days before gunmen set off an explosive device outside the newspaper.

Across Mexico journalists are being murdered with increasing frequency.

Police beat reporter Marco Antonio Ávila García was found dead last Friday in Sonora. He was abducted by armed men at a car wash and his tortured body was later found on a dirt road.

This documentary shows how journalists in Mexico take the greatest risks to report the truth about what is happening south of the border.

Sadly, the murders of journalists have continued.

"Reportero" is showing at 6 p.m. Friday and 5:15 p.m. Sunday at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. Tickets are $11.

Filed under: drug war, journalism, media, Mexico


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  • As we sit here safe in the comfort of our homes and blog about whatever we want, we should take just a minute to be thankful for that freedom. As you see in this documentary, not everyone is so lucky.

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