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Destroy enough of the domestic economy, deny the people access to basic welfare and state services and you get the drug fuelled cartel driven country wide chaos that is engulfing Mexico.  People in Mexico are dying in violent drug related deaths every day but the Mexican media is not covering these stories.  The coverage is not there because they tend to start loosing reporters when they focus too much on the drug cartels dangerous activities.

“Violence linked to Mexico’s drug war has claimed more than 36,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon declared all-out war on cartels in December 2006.”

The War on Cartels smacks of the same bankrupts ideas that the War on Drugs featured.   Going after supply rather than demand for narcotics is a recipe for disaster.  The disaster is largely unreported except for in blogs that have sprung up to fill some of the gaps in the Mexican mainstream media’s coverage.

“The images are gruesome and unedited: a dead man in a sports jersey with his face covered in dried red blood and grey sand; a woman hanging from a rope above a busy urban over-pass and naked bodies lined up on the ground displaying clear, uncensored, signs of torture.

You have reached Mexico’s narco blog: Click to continue.

“The narco blog uses much of the information citizens upload to other social networking sites,” says Pedro Perez, president of the democratic union of journalists in Tamaulipas, one of the states on the US-Mexico border hit hardest by drug violence. “Organised crime gangs don’t use it [social media] to inform, they use it for issuing threats.”

Anonymous blogging seems to be the only way that the chaos in Mexico is being covered.

“While much of Mexico’s mainstream media, especially television stations and local newspapers, has shied away from covering killings and naming the cartels involved, the narco blog and its anonymous curator, publish graphic details of spiraling violence.”

“Individuals journalists are doing the best they can, but in general I don’t think the media has done a fair job in covering drug violence,” says Lucila Vargas, a professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina who studies Mexico’s media landscape. “The media in Mexico are commercial enterprises and their first concern is with the bottom line,” she told Al Jazeera.

Like most large scale industries in Mexico, the media – particularly television stations – are highly concentrated in a few hands. Mexicans are more likely to own a television set than to have access to running water but two TV stations – Televisa and TV Azteca – control 94 per cent of television entertainment content, according to the Mexican Right to Information Association.”

Ah, the wonders of corporate media concentration.  None of the news, none of the time.

“Mexico has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists: Between 2005 and 2010 at least 66 reporters were killed, with 12 more disappeared, according to a report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). There have only been convictions in 10 per cent of the cases.

Violence, fear and impunity don’t just hurt reporters and their families, they decimates the quality of coverage.

“Local journalists have made a pact to just cover official acts like government activities, local policemen and local activities, things that are not dangerous,” says Perez, who has been threatened by cartels while working with journalists in one of the most violent border-states. “We would like to be heroes, but we are being shot at by criminals.” 

A 2010 analysis of drug war coverage from the Fundacion MEPI, and investigate journalism center, found that regional newspapers in Mexico are failing to report most execution style killings linked to cartels. Journalists interviewed for the study said threats, bribes and other forms of pressure influenced their decisions not to cover killings or name the suspected cartels involved.

“Organised crime members have tried to bribe or influence traditional media [and] that is the importance of social media,” says Raul Trejo Delabre, an independent media analyst in Mexico City.”

With large scale media rendered ineffective the small scale citizen level journalism is doing what it can to pick up the slack and report the horror that is going on Mexico.

Mexico provides a grim case study of what can happen when the state has been rendered deficient almost to the point or being irrelevant in carrying out the basic functions necessary for its citizenry.

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