Amid Rising Violence, Mexican Photog Wins Top Journalism Award

A Mexican photographer and an Argentinian writer have won the New Journalism CEMEX-FNPI Award, one of Latin America’s most coveted journalism awards, the AP reports.

Mexican photographer Alejandro Cossio, who has documented Mexico’s drug war for the weekly magazine Zeta, won for a series of images that depicts the chilling violence of that war in and around the border town of Tijuana. (WARNING: graphic image after the jump that may disturb some readers)

©Alejandro Cossio--A Mexican drug war victim hangs from an overpass

Argentine journalist Leila Guerriero won for an article about efforts to identify victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship, which killed hundreds of dissidents from 1976-83 and buried them in unmarked graves.

The awards took place against a backdrop of rising outrage in the Mexican and International press over threats and violence against journalists for covering the drug wars. According to a report in the Latin American Herald Tribune, honorees and speakers at the CEMEX+FNPI awards ceremony called on the Mexican government to do more to protect journalists from the violence, which has claimed the lives of 11 reporters, photographers, and editors this year.

Earlier this month, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a report called “Silence or Death in Mexico’s Press.” CPJ asserts that drug lords, violent criminals and corrupt officials have “destroyed Mexicans’ right to freedom of expression” by killing, terrorizing and co-opting journalists.

A week after CPJ issued the report, a 21-year-old Diaro de Juarez staff photographer was killed and a second photographer was seriously injured when gunmen attacked them in a parking lot at lunch time. The newspaper published a front page editorial a few days later announcing that it would restrict its coverage of the drug war.

One Response to “Amid Rising Violence, Mexican Photog Wins Top Journalism Award”

  1. John F. Says:

    This is justly deserved. Unfortunately, non-Mexican news media appear incapable of using these courageous people for reporting what is going on, instead relying on “star” non-mexican individuals, who make “visits” to trouble areas under heavy protection and then file a report on assignment as if its a report on a local football match. (CNN being the top offender). While a couple of fatalities in Afghanistan make headlines, the scores of deaths south of the border are ignored, as if they don’t exist, or are of lesser importance. To be a photographer/reporter in Mexico requires some serious courage, and mine ran out last year when I got an uninvited, extremely unpleasant escort during one photography trip. In some places in Mexico, law and order has broken down completely and everyday people are threatened and robbed at will. Best place to get decent news on Mexico is through blogs and videos on Youtube, or people who will send you the pictures, which are often incredibly gruesome.