The Los Angeles Times describes “narco-censorship”–journalists, out of fear or caution, writing what Mexican traffickers want them to write, or refraining from publishing the whole truth in a country where members of the press have been intimidated, kidnapped, and killed. Near a Reynosa shopping mall, convoys of gunmen whizzed through the streets and fired on each other for hours, paralyzing the city. You won’t read about it in Reynosa.
Recent battles between the army and cartel henchmen in Ciudad Juarez? Soldiers engaged “armed civilians,” newspapers told readers. As the drug war scales new heights of savagery, a byproduct of the carnage is the drug traffickers’ chilling ability to co-opt underpaid and under-protected journalists – who are haunted by the knowledge that they are failing in their journalistic mission of informing society. “You love journalism, you love the pursuit of truth, you love to perform a civic service and inform your community. But you love your life more,” said an editor in Reynosa. “We don’t like the silence. But it’s survival.” An estimated 30 reporters have been killed or have disappeared since President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against powerful drug cartels in December 2006.