Two weeks ago an article in the Washington post reported on the effects of social media users in Mexico contributing to the deaths of more innocent people and adding to the intimidating reputation of the drug cartels.
Corpses have been found hanging off bridges and overpasses accompanied with signs written by the drug cartels threatening to kill those social media users that continue to advertise and report on the killings, shootings, and destruction that the cartels leave behind.
The article states, “This will happen to all Internet busy bodies,” a sign read. Using offensive language the notice cautioned, “Shape up, I am on to you.”
I can definitely say right now that I am grateful that I’m blogging in the United States, away from those threats. How terrible it must be for these ordinary people just reporting and commenting on their daily struggle with the drug war, simply exposing reality, and then they are threatened to be murdered if they don’t keep quiet.
The cartels want to keep these people quiet, however, in my opinion, it’s kind of pointless since everyone knows these things are happening and what’s going on. I mean, do they really think they will be able to shut down every report, every blog, every video that any Mexican internet user posts? Everyday a new user will start a new blog or a new post; they will never actually end the usage of social media, no matter how much they threaten to kill. I’m not saying they aren’t somewhat successful either though. They were able to scare a popular website called “El Blog de Narco and Al Rojo Vivo” which disabled their comment section.
Many reporters who cover crime out in the fields and in the “conflict zones” have had to stop reporting because they’ve been “harassed, killed, beheaded and exiled.” It’s been reported that “More than 40 reporters have been killed in Mexico since 2004, and many more have disappeared.” This makes more sense since these are people physically going out where all the action is, something that is beyond dangerous than using Facebook or a blog to comment on a killing.
Although it sounds like I’m reducing the severity of this issue, I can honestly say I would be the first one to admit I would immediately shut down my site or delete my social media account in an instant if I or my family were threatened to be killed by a cartel.
The head of the Americas program at the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “The criminal gangs exert control over the press. The media stops. And in the absence of news, ordinary citizens turn to Twitter and Facebook to fill the void.”
Mexico’s citizens and the state are equally confused on what to do about this issue since it’s used for the importance of breaking news and rumor control but also it’s causing problems in regards to crime.
However there have been some tweeters that have used their media usage irresponsibly. A math teacher and a grandmother were sent to jail a few weeks ago because they posted that local schools were being assaulted when it was completely untrue. Parents rushed to these schools to pick up and save their children who caused all sorts of car accidents and pandemonium.
The governor of Veracruz is trying to call a meeting to gather the state congress to change the charges of these two chaos creators to “disruption of public order” instead.
It’s a tricky situation for these people; they can’t seem to get a break. Hopefully this problem won’t extend any further, but for now we just have to wait and see.