Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.
Drug wars and cartels have been blamed for the disappearance of at least 13 journalists since 2003.
Since 2003, 13 Mexican journalists have disappeared. Or, more accurately, they've been disappeared – seemingly swept off the face of the planet, with little trace of where they've gone or what happened to them. These 13 people are seen as victims of the violent and repressive drug cartels that have engulfed some parts of Mexico in dangerous wars over drugs and campaigns of fear.
While disappeared likely also means dead, there's a distinction here between those who've verifiably been murdered and those who've gone missing -- likely at the hands of the drug cartels. These 13 people represent the latter; they, or their bodies, have not been found.
The disappearances show two clusters: one in the western states of Michoacan and neighboring Guerrero, and eastern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The map was produced by Articulo 19, a group focused on press freedom in Latin America. The group also produced this map and infographic showing where journalists in Mexico have been attacked by guns and explosives.
The struggles and fears faced by the media in Mexico have been heightened in recent years as the bloodshed of cartel wars and drug trades have affected many parts of the country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, there have been 27 murders of journalists in Mexico since 1992 with confirmed motives to stop the gathering and sharing of information. As this recent episode of On the Media showed, covering the news in Mexico – news that often centers around the drug trade and its violence – can be dangerous and deadly. The 13 people in this map underscore this reality.
Map courtesy Articulo 19