Censorship has many faces, but it’s most shameless face is the one we see at the morgue. Dozens of journalists have been murdered for defending their freedom of speech. It is not in anybody’s interest to keep people informed.
Many pens have fallen because of the violence and dozens of microphones have been turned off because of fear. Some media have become the spokesmen of the government and endless reporters are a manufacturer of premade news for their convenience.
I have been a witness and an accomplice of the agony. There are many guilty; in fact, we all are. But journalism hasn’t died, it only has many enemies disguised as politicians, editors and reporters.
There are censors that are visible, shameless, imminent: A gun pointed to the head, the anonymous messages to the editorial office or a missing person without a trace. But there are others that cannot be seen, they are subtle, disguised as the latest editorial tendencies or opinion lines… Everyone on the media has them, whether they admit it or not.
I met Alfredo Jiménez Mota when we worked together at Healy newspaper. He was absentminded and clinging to the extreme, sometimes he was too intense; we used to tell him that he lived in a constant persecutory delusion. We judged him wrong. He was kidnapped; they made him disappeared…maybe he was killed. We don’t know what happened to him. Perhaps he was tortured, maybe he is alive, maybe they were enraged with him; we will never know. 14 years have passed and there are no traces of him or whom to blame, and no interest from the authorities to solve this case. If the narco didn’t kill him, he was executed by the corruption in Sonora. He was not the first and not the last. He is one more victim from an accomplice society of crime.
In 2018, 113 journalists were killed around the world. In 2019, just in the couple of months that have passed, three have been murdered,only in Mexico. But no, despite the bullets, the truth has not died; blood does not equal silence.
What happened in Venezuela with Jorge Ramos, Pedro Ultretas and other correspondents is not news. The harassment and intimidation don’t hide anymore. They were lucky to be able to tell their story, but there are many others that were buried without anybody knowing. This is reality; censorship kills; censorship murders; the truth destroys.
Governments like the one of Nicolas Maduro make fun of freedom of speech with bullets, fear or money; they laugh at democracy. Nevertheless, what worries us is that there is a country collapsing before our eyes and this week’s news scandal is about the eagerness of one reporter to be the center of attention, really? Venezuela is in a social, economic and journalistic crisis! How is it possible that a president can detain reporters, confiscate their equipment, take possession of their work, threaten and intimidate the media with no consequences? This is a direct attack to journalism. That is news! Do not get confused.
Freedom of speech is not about enlarging the ones they call themselves journalists by writing copycat notes from a luxurious office or the ones that take the liberty to tell stories they have never lived. No. I also don’t think that is about the submissive journalists or the ones that lost their passion for journalism; neither to the conformists or manipulated or the ones that keep silent in front of the voices that matter. No. The right to inform and express consists in the existence of more words and less silent moments; less censorship; less attacks; less murders; less intimidation; less bullets.
It’s important to understand: The truth is not killed by murdering the journalist. Not one less.