Film ‘Reportero’ documents drug war related press killings in Mexico

May 25, 2012

Steve Bynum

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More than 50,000 Mexican men, women and children have been killed in drug war related violence since December of 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderón ordered thousands of army troops into the streets to confront drug cartels.

These deaths are a source of great agony for innocent families in Mexico; their grief is compounded when these tragedies go underreported or ignored by U.S. media. It seems only grisly discoveries, like mass graves filled with beheaded victims, garner attention from American news media or high-ranking U.S. officials.

Human rights organizations and media reports continually document widespread human rights violations by Mexico's military and police in their efforts to combat these violent drug cartels. These atrocities include killings, torture and disappearances. The acts exacerbate a lawless climate and stoke fear in many parts of the country. Observers note that these violations persist due to an atmosphere of impunity and the lack of legal accountability to hold elements of Mexican law enforcement and government accountable. Like their police counterparts, drug cartels often target for intimidation or execution human rights defenders and journalists who expose drug cartel violence.

Friday, Worldview speaks with Bernardo Ruiz, director of the film Reportero. The film follows reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at Zeta, a weekly paper based in Tijuana, Mexico. Two of the paper's editors have been murdered and the founder viciously attacked since the paper's founding in 1980, as they've reported on Mexico's drug wars. Reportero runs this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.