“FRIENDS AND FAMILY, MY REAL NAME IS MARÍA DEL ROSARIO FUENTES RUBIO. I AM A PHYSICIAN. TODAY MY LIFE HAS COME TO AN END.”
Under the alias “Felina,” physician Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio served as a citizen journalist who brazenly covered narco-cartel activity in the otherwise uncovered city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Ms. Rubio was brutally murdered last week.
Journalists and bloggers in Mexico are forced to write in a paradigm that threatens their lives and the lives of their loved ones for reporting contentious issues involving corruption, politicians, the drug war and cartels.
There are pockets throughout Mexico- to include Tamaulipas-where journalists are not allowed to report any form of criminal activity. Alfredo Corchado, an American foreign correspondent in Mexico, spoke at Columbia College about the privilege of protection he receives as a foreign correspondent. He explained that his Mexican colleagues are not able to write as freely or report on the issues that he is able to write about.
Corchado, whose life has been threatened several times, stated that even he had to flee Mexico because of the threats. He stated that journalists throughout the country are forced to live in a media age that is ruled by censorship.
Due to increased cartel violence, journalists and bloggers are faced with the increased need to censor their coverage or completely cease reporting on issues related to the drug war. In his book, Corchado tells the story of a local newspaper editor who is forced to censor his newspaper to avoid putting his family at further risk. The editor’s brother was kidnapped and only released after the editor agreed to cease reporting on cartel activity.
Faced with death threats, would you continue reporting on contentious issues or would a threat be enough to silence you? At what point does the line of need to report blur? Is a story worth dying for?