Mexican journalists carry same traumas as war correspondents, says a scientific study | Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

By the International News Safety Institute (INSI)

Journalists in peacetime Mexico trying to cover drug-related stories are suffering levels of traumatic stress similar to those of The study was carried out by Dr Anthony Feinstein, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who has also published the most authoritative study into trauma and stress among others. war reporters.

I found that 25 per cent of the 104 journalists have reported that they have stopped covering drug news because of intimidation directed either at them or their family - and that they reported significantly more post- traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and general psychological dysfunction than colleagues.

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Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a journalist, largely due to drug lords trying to influence the news INSI figures show it was the most murderous country last year with 11 deaths and the fifth this year so far with seven dead. It has been in the top six deadliest countries consistently over the past 15 years. Feinstein's study, carried out with assistance from INSI, was the first of its kind on the effects of trauma on journalists covering their own country in peacetime. I found that more than 70 per cent of the journalists lived in a province where there was drug-related violence. Almost half of them knew a colleague who had been murdered by the drug cartels. More than half of those reporting drug-related news had been threatened. One in 10 had a threatened family member.

But he added: "Unlike the war group, who 'parachute' in and out of danger ... most Mexican journalists studied here both work and live in areas where extreme is endemic.
"If the journalists are too intimidated to report the news and if their emotional stress is such they" "These disturbing psychological findings should start to call the Mexican news organizations to support the men and women who, at considerable time, risk, tell the stories of a local conflict with regional implications for all of the Americas. "

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This post was originally published in the International News Safety Institute (INSI) website.

  • Adam Floyd