One Big Thing: The Deadly Risks of Journalism in Latin America
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What is it?
- Latin America is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist. Government corruption, gang violence and unlawful surveillance all contribute to Latin America’s dangerous information space. In 2019, Reporters Without Borders reported that of the 39 journalists killed around the world, 14 were in Latin America – more than any other region.
- Most recently, on Feb 12, a Brazilian journalist named Léo Veras was murdered by 2 masked gunmen in his home. Veras has been reporting on local corruption, organized crime and cross-border drug trafficking – issues entrenched with violence.
- In Mexico, Los Zetas Cartel is a narco-trafficking organization known for suppressing negative journalism through intimidation, abductions, and violent murder. Los Zetas infamously leaves threatening messages for future journalists near the bodies of their past journalist victims.
- Across the region, press freedom is deteriorating and reporting is as dangerous as war zones like in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen.
Why does it matter?
- Freedom of expression, press, and information are all fundamental human rights and key tenants to a strong and functional democracy. An independent media is the best ways to ensure accountability for its citizens as it can act as a watchdog of government. While journalists and journalism are under attack in Latin America, it matters to Americans. We value a free and independent press and around the globe.
- These rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What can you do?
- Check out Reporters Without Borders for more information on the global fight for journalism and free media.
- For more on Latin America or tips for better journalism, visit The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
Something you didn’t know:
- CAMEROON: The situation in Cameroon has been deteriorating for past several years and has slowly become a humanitarian crisis that has not gained world attention. A long reigning dictator, instability due to attacks from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, corruption and continued suppression of minority groups make Cameroon a country to watch. Learn more on a recent massacre of 21 unarmed civilians from Human Rights Watch and the crisis in the Anglophone region from The Africa Report.
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