With Mexican journalist Bladimir Antuna’s corpse was this chilling hand-scrawled message, says the Los Angeles Times: “This happened to me for giving information to soldiers and writing too much.” Antuna, who died last month, was the third journalist killed in Durango since May and one of as many as 12 reporters and media workers slain in Mexico this year — a trend that makes the country one of the deadliest in the world for reporters.
Raging drug violence and rampant corruption have posed innumerable perils for journalists. Steady intimidation has caused many to pull their punches and refrain from writing the whole truth. Journalists are just a tiny fraction of the more than 15,000 people killed since President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against well-armed drug cartels three years ago. Like most crime in Mexico, virtually none of the slayings of reporters have been solved. Journalists say they are threatened both by narco-traffickers and by the heavy-handed pressure of state government, which controls publicity contracts and instructs the pliant owners of media companies not to highlight negative news.