Covering the story of Mexico’s narco orphans

October 6, 2010

MEXICO/Our latest special report is not a feel-good story. Catherine Bremer visited an orphanage in Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico’s drug war, to tell the largely overlooked story of the tens of thousands of children whose lives are blighted by drug violence.

Northern Mexico is a tough place to work. This is what our Monterrey correspondent Robin Emmott has to say about covering the drug war:

“Mexican journalists, often poorly paid, face intimidation directly from drug gangs, from local officials in the pay of the cartels and even from their own colleagues who take bribes from drug gangs to ensure certain stories don’t get published. Many choose to publish without bylines, or in the most extreme cases, stop reporting on the drug cartels altogether, creating a news blackout that international press groups say threatens Mexico’s standing as a healthy democracy. Reporters fear they risk their lives if they run investigative reports about corrupt politicians working with drug gangs or if they publish the names of cartel leaders living at large.

MEXICO/For Reuters, our photographers are on the front line, covering crime scenes and dealing almost daily with the pressure that comes from covering the drug war where no one, least of all the police, can be trusted. Correspondents have the relative luxury of relying on local media for breaking news, but often need to get out in the field to report what is really going on and face the same kind of pressures and intimidation.

On a recent trip to Ciudad Juarez earlier this year, I was told by local police on climbing into a patrol car that if we came under attack from drug gangs that they could not be responsible for my safety.”

Robin’s regular coverage of the drug war can be seen here.

Click here for a multimedia PDF version of today’s special report “Mexico’s growing legion of narco orphans.”

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