In recent years, local media in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán state (Mexico) have been portraying the members of the Knights Templar cartel as genuine defenders of their community against external attacks, without even mentioning that their financial resources come from extortion and marijuana/meth trafficking. According to these journalists (sic), the Templars cannot be considered neither as a cartel nor an organized crime group, but as a hero-like insurgent group fueled by social injustice, the overall lack of opportunities, and other misdeeds of the central government.
The post goes on saying that:
The Templars pay these journalists to become their informal spokesmen; they have financed their books and, more importantly, they have granted them an important role in a territory where control is tight and no one enters without proper authorization. Journalists are their de facto social communications staff, mediating between the cartel and other journalists or foreigners who intend to go into the area.
FJP: To illustrate, the Los Angeles Times picked up a related story a couple of years ago.
Bonus: As far as local use of social networking goes, criminals in Tamaulipas state recently offered a juicy reward for information identifying a social media user who reports on violence in Mexico. The Knight Center has the full story.
During the last administration (six years), much of the Mexican media specialized in tallying the daily acts of violence, crimes and human casualties committed throughout the country. Figures were refreshed every morning and published both in print and online. As a result, news organizations refined their methods of monitoring and tracking the amount of casualties and/or abductions in the so-called “Calderón’s war on drugs”, to the extent that those numbers were in fact more accurate than the official record.
Mexican columnist Ricardo Alemán in today’s edition of El Universal [in Spanish].
Update: I’ve decided to attach a screen caption of said infographic, since most contents of El Norte are currently located behind a paywall. —Roberto
Image: Screen caption of El Norte.