“Remember the bloggers vs. journalists debate?” tweets Jay Rosen “The journalists had to give up and now the bloggers are getting murdered.”
Journalism in the Americas: For the fourth time in two months in the city of Nuevo Laredo in Mexico, a body has been found with a message threatening users of social networks, reported GlobalPost and La Jornada.
The decapitated man was found Wednesday, Nov. 9, with a sign identifying him as “El Rascatripas” (or “Belly Scratcher”), the administrator for the Nuevo Laredo en Vivo website, which allows residents to denounce organized crime in the border city, according to the Associated Press. Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, however, said the body in fact did not belong to any of the site’s moderators.
The decapitated man showed signs of torture, reported Voz de América. His body was found at the Monumento a Colón, the same place where the body of journalist María Elizabeth Macías, alias “La Nena de Laredo” (or Laredo Girl), was found in September after denouncing drug crimes on the Nuevo Laredo En Vivo site.
At the beginning of September the bodies of two youths hanging from a bridge in the same city also were found with similar warnings against using online sites to report on organized crime and drug trafficking. The deaths of the youths and of Macías were attributed to the Mexican cartel of Los Zetas.
The Nuevo Laredo en Vivo website remains online, highlighting a comment Laredo Girl made just days before she was killed: “Yesterday the SEDENA (Secretary of National Defense) rescued six hostages, arresting one of the criminals. We continue denouncing, thanks to your reports.”
The website, created more than a year ago, warns visitors to change their user names but to continue reporting on and denouncing crime in the area.
Ovemex, who writes the blog Borderland Beat, said he was working to create a Twitter manifesto calling for people to unite against crime, and offering tips on how to report safely and anonymously. Ovemex told MSNBC, “These deaths will not be in vain…They cannot kill us all!”
News media in this border city have stopped reporting on the actions and atrocities of organized crime because of the threats against journalists. As such, citizens have turned to social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs to inform themselves and to denounce crimes. “For Zetas, and the other cartels, the less people talk about them, the better,” columnist Raymundo Riva Palacio told the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
“Don’t be afraid to report,” Nuevo Laredo en Vivo user Anon4024 wrote Nov 9. “This is how we make a difference in this city.”
See this Knight Center map for more information about attacks on journalists in Mexico.