Journalism and the drug war in in Latin America | Topics | DW | 01.04.2011
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Journalism and the drug war in in Latin America

Tuesday, 21 June 2011, 11.30 a.m., Room Suessmuth


Drug trafficking violence weighs heavily on daily life in Latin America. Journalists in particular are exposed to serious danger. As a result, they are increasingly less inclined to pursue contentious issues like drug dealing and drug-related violence to minimize the life-threatening risks.

In Mexico alone, 13 journalists were killed in 2010 as a result of their coverage of drug trafficking. According to Reporters Without Borders, the country has the worst security conditions for journalists on the entire continent. The war against the drug cartels has claimed the lives of more than 28,000 people since Felipe Calderón – the first to employ military intervention – took office as president. Again and again innocent civilians are among the casualties.

In Brazil, too, security forces are taking aggressive steps to combat drug gangs, especially in Rio de Janeiro where the government aims to regain control over the hundred most violence-ridden slums before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. The press has played an important role, giving voice to the poverty-stricken whose lives are directly affected by the drug war.

According to UN data, Columbia produces the greatest amount of cocaine, but the problem also affects many transit countries, such as Venezuela, the Caribbean countries Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica along with all of the countries in Central America.

Claudia Herrera-Pahl
Teamleader Spanish DW-RADIO/

Doris Ammon
Journalist and Author 3 Sat TV

Benoît Hervieu
Head of the Americas Desk of Reporters Without Borders

Gerardo Rodríguez Jiménez
Editor in Chief EL DIARIO

Judith Torrea
Freelance Journalist

Günter Wallraff
Journalist and author

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