Writers from around the world offer support to Mexican journalists

Pen

REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- He survived.

Television journalist Hector Gordoa was on assignment, covering a prison riot, when he was kidnapped by a drug gang in 2010. Police eventually rescued him, and he is one of the rare Mexican journalists to live to tell the story.

On Sunday, writers and journalists from around the world gathered in Mexico City to show solidarity with Mexican news men and women who risk their lives to report on government corruption, drug warfare and violence.

Sometimes the enemy is the cartel, sometimes it's local government officials. Many newspapers, out of fear or from bribery, simply refuse to report.

"Extortion, threats, murder ... it's become common," Gordoa said at Sunday's protest event, sponsored by Pen International.

Dozens of Mexican journalists have been killed or have disappeared in President Felipe Calderon's nearly 6-year-long fight with powerful drug cartels.

"In Mexico, to tell the truth is to risk your life," said famed writer Elena Poniatowska.

Homero Aridjis, poet, writer and a former Mexican ambassador, said courageous Mexican journalists were abandoned to their fate because government authorities routinely failed to investigate such  slayings.

"The Mexican journalist, especially in the provinces, is helpless," Aridjis said.

Several Nobel laureates joined Pen International members in a full-page ad in Mexico's El Universal newspaper last week, saying that attacks on journalists lead to widespread censorship.

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-- Tracy Wilkinson

Photo: TV reporter Hector Gordoa, standing in center, reads a statement as part of a Pen International event in support of Mexican journalists. Credit: Tracy Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times

 

 
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