Death, Lack of Reliable Info for Journalists at Mexican Border

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Seven journalists were killed in Mexico last year, according to Reporters Without Borders. Mexico tied with Honduras for the most journalist deaths in the Western Hemisphere in 2010 and ranked at number three across the globe behind Pakistan and Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. “In the last year and a half, it's gotten very sinister to where I don't even trust my own instincts,” Don Bartletti of the Los Angeles Times told the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for a story on “High-Risk Journalism at the Border.”

In the U.S., journalists complain about difficulties getting detailed information from the U.S. Border Patrol. Reporters formerly could call the officer in charge of a specific region where an incident occurred and receive accurate information. That changed when the border went under the command of Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, said Michael Marizco, a reporter in Tucson who has covered the border for eight years. “You can no longer call the resident agent in charge of the Ajo [Arizona] station and ask them the most innocuous question ever. He cannot answer you; it's not his job anymore,” he said. Marizco says there now is a “government manufactured news agency” where journalists working under tight deadlines get formulated press releases provided by the agency's public relations officers.

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