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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

New documentary on violence against journalists in Mexico will be released on first anniversary of the murder of Javier Valdez



The film crew behind the latest documentary looking at violence against journalists in Mexico spent three years (2015-2017) working on the project. Three years which they say were the bloodiest for the country's press.

"The piece of data that reflects the seriousness of things in Mexico is that while we were doing that documentary they killed 33 journalists and disappeared one more," Témoris Grecko, producer, investigator and screenwriter of the documentary “The truth shall not be killed,” told the Knight Center. "The longer we took, the more the list grew.”

The film will premiere on May 14 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the murder of renowned Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, who was shot dead on May 15, 2017 in that city, where he was also born. It will be screened in Mexico City on May 17. On both dates, the screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and some of the relatives of the murdered journalists, such as Valdez’s wife, Griselda Triana.

In the film, the director takes the viewer all the way from Tijuana in western Mexico, eastward to the Caribbean coast.

The objective was "to present sort of a general picture of the type of aggression, although we left a lot of cases out because it is impossible to include a perspective of everything that has happened [in recent years] in little more than an hour and a half,” Grecko said. He added that initially he thought of finishing the documentary in 2017, but since that year was "especially hard" for the press due to the number of high-profile cases that occurred, they decided to continue working on it.

In addition to the murder of Valdez, the documentary includes the deaths of journalists Moisés Sánchez, Rubén Espinosa and Miroslava Breach and cases of violence against the press in the border areas between the United States and Mexico, where drug trafficking predominates.

A trailer for the documentary places footage of some of the aforementioned journalists speaking about censorship and attacks just before showing images of people marching in the street after their murders. Footage from a television program in which one of the speakers smears Espinosa following his death shows that many journalists are not safe even after they are killed.

The documentary also looks at persecutions of journalists Carmen Aristegui, Pedro Canché and the newspaper Luces del Siglo by government officials.

"The truth shall not be killed" is the first part of a multimedia project that bears the same name, and whose sequel will be a television series, a book and a microsite on attacks against the press that take place in 2018 and during the electoral campaigns.

Alongside the screening of the documentary, creator of the documentary, Ojos de Perro vs. Impunidad, and other collectives, cultural and educational institutions and organizations, as well as civil society groups, have organized a series of activities in several cities throughout the country. They include talks that start on May 12 and continue to the end of the month. A list of the planned activities and live broadcasts of the documentary can be found on Facebook and YouTube.

For this reason they have relied on the willingness of self-management of various groups for these activities, and have launched calls for any person, group or organization to propose and carry out their own event alongside them on the subject of violence against the press in Mexico.

Ojos de Perro vs. Impunidad, a multidisciplinary civil association, was created in November 2014 and is made up of journalists, filmmakers, photographers, novelists and musicians. Grecko, one of its founders, is an independent Mexican journalist who has covered armed conflicts around the world, in countries such as Libya, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Congo and the Philippines.

According to Grecko, Ojos de Perro carries out investigations and creates communications products on six thematic axes: impunity, corruption, inequality, human rights, gender rights and the environment.

Following the disappearance of 43 students from a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa in September 2014, a wave of outrage flowed through Mexico and several groups were formed at the professional level, Grecko said. This is how Ojos de Perro was born. The organization’s first documentary was, "Watching them die: the Mexican Army and the 43 disappeared” about the missing students.



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