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Mexican media ask drug cartels, 'What do you want from us?'

By Melissa Bell
Mexico Drug War
(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

Updated, Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.
The Post's Mexican correspondent William Booth says the besieged journalists at the Juarez newpsaper El Diario vow to continue coverage of the drug wars, even as they ask in editorials for the cartels to stop the killings. Booth called the newspaper's front-page editorial "remarkable and bold."

The Mexican government made a veiled criticism of the editorial when it responded with comments that "in no way should anyone promote a truce or negotiate with criminals," the Associated Press reports.

Monday, 11:40 a.m.
The bloody drug war that has raged across Mexico seems to have may fell another victim: media coverage.

In Juarez, the city's biggest paper, El Diario, announced it would be pulling back coverage of the drug war responded to the drug cartels after the second killing of one of its journalists this year.

"This is not a surrender. Nor does it mean that we've given up the work we have been developing," an El Diario front-page editorial said. "Instead it is a respite to those who have imposed the force of its law in this city, provided they respect the lives of those who are dedicated to the craft of reporting."

The editorial made the bold move of speaking directly to the cartels and acknowledging them as the "de facto authorities" of the city.

More than 22 journalists have been killed in the past four years. Luis Carlos Santiago, 21, a photographer with El Diario, was shot in a parked car outside a shopping mall. Reporters Without Borders placed the blame not on the drug violence, but on the corruption of the government.

"A recent study by Article 19 and the National Centre for Social Communication (Cencos), a Mexican NGO, blamed 65 per cent of the attacks on the press on the authorities, and only 6.15 per cent on organized crime."

The editorial seemed to acknowledge the government's role by accusing the government of doing nothing about the intimidation and assaults on journalists by drug cartels.

"Mexico has become the western hemisphere's most dangerous country for the media. Its drug cartels, combined with government ineffectiveness and corruption, are largely to blame," Reporters Without Borders wrote in a report in March.

Media watchdog group Committee to Protect Journalists urged Mexican President Felipe Calderón to make "the protection of free expression a priority of his national agenda."

By Melissa Bell  | September 20, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
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How much more powerful do the cartels have to get before we get smart and legalize? The corruption always goes deeper than we ever know. Al Capone and the mob never got this big before we repealed alcohol prohibition. Why is it so hard to understand that you only create crime when you prohibit something a lot of people are gonna use anyway? The people who fight the hardest against legalization are cop unions, prison guards, and treatment centers. They all have financial intrests at stake. Harry Arnslinger wrote in his memiors that faced with layoffs of T-men he realized if he demonized cannabis he could keep his agents. A job program then and now.

Posted by: augustiswest | September 20, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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