As a critical journalist in Mexico, there is a high risk of being confronted with threats or even violence sooner or later. Out of fear, journalists avoid sensitive topics such as drug cartels. Most Mexicans only hear what the authorities and criminal gangs want them to hear. Free Press Unlimited unites Mexican journalists to break the silence together. In December 2013 we organised a boot camp in Mexico.

Journalists who are threatened feel alone and isolated. They are often not aware that many fellow-journalists are in the same situation. We try to deal with this situation in two ways. Through training we teach journalists to better defend themselves against threatening violence. And by participating in online platforms, more journalists can support each other and exchange experiences. This way, we work together to ensure that journalists in Mexico can continue to write articles that matter. Mid-December 2013, 140 participants in total came together in Mexico City for a four-day course. Journalists and editors learnt about investigative journalism, journalistic ethics and digital, emotional, physical and legal safety. 

'The government shuts its eyes'

One of the trainers during the boot camp is Anabel Hernández. She knows the dangers of critical journalism like no other. After publishing her book Los Señores del Narco about the Mexican drug cartels and Mexico as a mafia state in 2010, Hernández was confronted with dead animals on her doorstep and armed men in her home. She now uses her experiences to train fellow-journalists in investigative journalism. Hernández: “The current situation in Mexico has led to journalists in large parts of the country keeping their mouths shut. They want to continue doing their work, but do not receive any support from the government. That is why it is important that we teach them the right skills to protect themselves and to inform society about what goes on in our country.”