Documenting the perils of working as a journalist in Mexico

Documenting the perils of working as a journalist in Mexico



>> Sreenivasan: MEXICO HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACES IN THE WORLD FOR JOURNALISTS. SINCE LAST YEAR, AT LEAST NINE HAVE BEEN MURDERED, AND MORE THAN A DOZEN ARE MISSING, AS DRUG CARTELS, ORGANIZED CRIME, AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION POSE DANGEROUS THREATS FOR JOURNALISTS WHO INVESTIGATE AND REPORT ON THESE ISSUES. EMMANUEL GUILLEN LOZANO IS A DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER WHO FLED MEXICO AND NOW LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES. HIS WORK IS PART OF A PHOTO EXHIBITION IN NEW YORK, HIGHLIGHTING ATTACKS ON THE PRESS IN MEXICO. NEWSHOUR WEEKEND'S IVETTE FELICIANO RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH HIM TO DISCUSS HIS WORK AND THE DANGERS HE ESCAPED. >> Reporter: EMMANUEL GUILLEN LOZANO, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. BACK IN MEXICO, YOU COVERED DISAPPEARANCES. YOU EVEN SHORTLY EMBEDDED WITH THE INFAMOUS SINALOA CARTEL. DO YOU REMEMBER THE PHOTOGRAPHS THAT BEGAN TO PUT YOUR LIFE AT RISK? >> DO YOU KNOW, I SPENT OVER A YEAR GETTING THREATS FROM CARTEL MEMBERS FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF MEXICO? AND I WAS KIND OF COOL WITH IT, JUST BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT AS LONG AS YOU DIDN'T MESS WITH THEM, AS LONG AS YOU DIDN'T GO TO THEIR TERRITORIES AGAIN, IT'S GOING TO BE FINE FOR YOU IN MOST OF THE CASES. MAYBE NOT ALWAYS, BUT IN MOST OF THEM. >> Reporter: AS LONG AS YOU DIDN'T GO BACK. >> YEAH, EXACTLY. SO AT A CERTAIN POINT, AFTER WORKING ON THE CASE OF THE 43 STUDENTS WHO DISAPPEARED IN GUERRERO, IN AYOTZINAPA, MEXICO, IT STARTED TO GET SOME ATTENTION OUTSIDE MEXICO. AND I THINK THAT WAS THE MOTIVATION OF WHY THE TRUTH STARTED TO CHANGE THE NATURE OF THEM. >> Reporter: WHAT'S THE PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF THE WORK THAT YOU DO? IS IT– HERE, THE PRESS HAS BEEN CALLED AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. IS IT JUST THE CARTELS WHO WANT TO HARM YOU, OR IS THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT RESENTFUL OF WHAT YOU DO? >> DEFINITELY. I WILL SAY THAT THE JOURNALISTIC COMMUNITY IN MEXICO IS MORE AFRAID OF THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE CARTELS THEMSELVES. >> Reporter: WHY IS THAT? >> BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IN MOST OF THE– IN MOST OF THE CASES, THE CARTELS AND THE GOVERNMENT ARE DEEPLY, DEEPLY CONNECT. AND SOMETIMES THEY ARE EVEN LIKE THE SAME. THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT ARE INVOLVED IN NARCO-TRAFFICING AND THOSE KIND OF THINGS. ESPECIALLY FOR THE JOURNALISTS WHO ARE, LIKE, LOCAL– WHO WORK FOR, LIKE, LOCAL NEWSPAPERS, OR LOCAL MEDIA. FOR ME, THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARE MORE VULNERABLE BECAUSE WE– YOU KNOW, PEOPLE LIKE ME HAVE THE OPTION TO GO TO THESE PLACES JUST FOR A FEW DAYS OR MAYBE FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS, AND THEN YOU CAN GO BACK HOME AND BE SAFER. BUT THOSE WHO LIVE RIGHT IN THE PLACE ARE IN MORE VULNERABLE SITUATIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE TARGETED WAY EASIER THAN US. >> Reporter: IS THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT DOING ANYTHING TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS LIKE YOURSELF? >> THEY ARE PRETENDING TO. YOU KNOW, THERE IS A LOT TO "PROTECT JOURNALISTS," BUT IT IS THE MOST USELESS THING YOU COULD IMAGINE. LITERALLY 99% OF THE CASES ARE NOT BEING SOLVED OR EVEN INVESTIGATED, BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIMES THERE IS SOME PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN A CERTAIN LEVEL, FROM THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL UP TO THE FEDERAL LEVEL, WHO IS INVOLVED SOMEHOW, ALMOST IN ALL OF THE CASES. >> Reporter: WHY DO YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES CONTINUE TO PUT YOUR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR THIS WORK? >> MY COUNTRY HAS BEEN SUFFERING SUCH A LONG PERIOD OF VIOLENCE THAT WE ALL WANT TO TELL THIS STORY ABOUT, IN ORDER TO, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IF WE PUBLISH THE RIGHT THING, IF WE TAKE THE RIGHT PICTURE, IF WE SAY THE RIGHT WORDS, MAYBE SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN AT SOME POINT. ALSO, FOR OUR OWN COLLECTIVE MEMORY, AND I THINK ALL OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE THE INTENTION TO CONTRIBUTE, TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM BY DOCUMENTING IT. >> Reporter: EMMANUEL GUILLEN LOZANO, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. >> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

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