Tag Archives: journalism

Positive and Negative Issues of Journalism in Mexico

By Alexander Backman  | July 22, 2017

I was tasked in writing an essay for my journalism specialization course at Michigan University in the class that relates to issues that journalists face in their reporting activities. As you can imagine, in Mexico, sadly, it is not hard at all to talk about things that pose a threat to journalists in their line of work. But also, there are some issues that counter these bleak grievances and make the job of informing rewarding and fulfilling. I want to balance these two aspects in this essay. So, here it goes.

With respect on the future of journalism in my country, the future is bleak as it is becoming ever-so dangerous to reports the facts as events transpire. This is the first key issue that greatly concerns me.

As many abroad have learned, Mexico is currently living the worst security crisis in history with the full-scale criminal insurgency which has undermined the capability of its Government to deal with such a threat from the ever-growing transnational drug cartels and their well-established networks and bases of operations in different parts of the country. This exponential growth has provided them with an inordinate level of power. It is true, this problem is not new and has lurked as a demon in the shadows of the Mexican state since the 80s. But now, almost 40 years later, Mexico has not only become a second Colombia, it has transformed into a safe-haven for criminal empires to thrive and corrupt the entire government system, while at the same time operating under a veil of total impunity and secrecy. This now endemic problem has gotten to the point where journalists cannot report on these issues freely at a local and state level for fear of being killed. It is amazing still, that in the first six months of 2017 out of the 18 journalists that have been killed, nine are from Mexico, according to a report from PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN. Journalism is being stifled due to this threat.

A second negative issue that needs attention in the media is poverty. Almost half of Mexicans live in extreme poverty. This situation has almost zero coverage by the mainstream Government-influenced media. And with it, a terrible lack of education of most of its inhabitants. This mix of lack of food, housing, jobs and education creates a great opportunity for the criminal organizations to prey on and hire peasants to do their bidding in the cartels. In a way, all these issues are noticeably intertwined, while ignorance and apathy are king and queen, the media rarely delves deeper into this social and dysfunctional abnormality.

But when it comes to the media, since half of Mexicans live in total and abject poverty, one has to ponder, do they read a newspaper? Do they have access to a tablet and the Internet? Do they read at all?

Yes, this affects journalism. How? Well, if we think about it, this means that 60 million potential viewers are not watching the news, they are not reading and following tweets, they are not being informed. Also, how can a journalist adapt to these deficiencies and at the same time inform the masses outside of the mainstream media or major communication outlets? One solution could be delivering the news visually instead of in writing and making the Internet available to all citizens on a zero budget so they can get in touch with reality and not be brainwashed by political action committees from the far left in the south of the Country where most of them live.

My third not-so positive issue which the media is not reporting on for fear of being threatened or have their ad revenue pulled altogether, and that is how Big Corporations have de facto taken control of what is being lightly reported on and spun and sugarcoated to the masses because it affects their sales and therefore their profit margins. Coca Cola is one of these unstoppable businesses that have total control of the media for one simple reason, they advertise everywhere! And if anything negative is reported about them, where they are mentioned or questioned directly, like, for example, why Mexico is the #1 country worldwide with child-diabetes, and also why Mexico is # 1 in child-obesity, again at a global scale, this is mentioned but no names are mentioned. When one questions who or what might be the source of this out-of-control problem. The logical answer would be the sugar intake that Mexican children are getting, and where this extreme consumption of sugar is coming from. Not only Coca Cola, there are many companies that have a lot invested in people consuming their products without any interest of even reading the labels to check what ingredients they are putting into their bodies, let alone their children’s bodies. So, here again we can see how ignorance, apathy and poverty makes this only worse. It is a vicious cycle, and reporters do not report on it because of pressure from their bosses or from the Government itself who in turn is getting its ears pulled by Big C.

Albeit, as dark and somber journalism in Mexico might seem, there are other areas where journalism is thriving. Despite the negative issues that seem to have overtaken Mexico and given it a terrible image worldwide affecting its tourist sector, Mexico is well-covered as well by the media with regard to its culture, its food and its historical heritage. After all, much of what Mexico has to offer to the world comes from archaeological landmarks from the Mesoamerican empires and how easy it is to still visit these places and have fun. A lot of reporting by journalists is being done about this on a constant basis. Whether it be a recent archaeological dig about the discovery that the Aztecs had human-sacrifice towers of women and children erected around their ‘juego de la pelota’ ball courts in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, or that an underground river was found gushing water under the ever famous pyramid of Pakaal in Palenque Chiapas, all these reports in the media not only shed light of Mexico´s history, they also attract a lot of people to visit these places as well. It promotes tourism and allows journalists to write about it and they get to travel. After all, who is not up to visiting the second biggest pyramid in the world at only 40 minutes away from Mexico City and seeing the ‘Tzompantli’ (skull rack towers) as they are being unearthed in the heart of the city? Graphic reporters are taking great images of these places as well and enriching the reports that we read.

A second positive aspect of journalism in Mexico is that to overcome the state-influenced media moguls in Mexico, the sector of independent citizen journalists sprang up along with the Internet revolution. In a country rife in corruption, citizens took to it and took advantage of the available social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and other blog sites to report what was not being said in the nightly news. In turn, this created a Government crackdown on dissidents who turned into journalists and who started to become a threat to the information control system. Journalists disappeared, were intimidated to not report on anything ever again. So, now, there is the average citizen journalist, but Mexicans who still report, know there are limits to what is being reported and how much of it should be known. So, freedom of speech is not absolutely 100% guaranteed in Mexico as one would expect, but at least self-censorship allows journalists to still report while, at the same time, be very careful not to step on the sharp-edged claws of the Mexican Media Masters and its members.

In conclusion, in troublesome countries where ‘La Libertad de Prensa’ does not exist, self-control and a decent dose of common sense of what to report and how might extend your livelihood in times of conflict and division as ‘periodista’.

P.S. I wrote this last paragraph as a series of bullets were fired in the distance close to where I am.


 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

PRESS RELEASE: WHY I AM IN DANGER (English Version)

UPDATE MARCH 5 2015: CONFIRMED ISIS leader is behind plot to assassinate Mexican journalists Alexander Backman and Monica Gahbler

“Mexican Journalist’s head is being auctioned off in the French DEEP WEB possibly for speaking out about ISIS and the persecution of Christians in Libya and the Middle East.”

PERMALINK: http://concienciaradio.com/why_i_am_in_danger.htm
(Versíon en Español aquí) (PDF VERSION IN ENGLISH AVAILABLE HEREby Alexander Backman

A SPECIAL REPORT AND PRESS RELEASE BY CONCIENCIA RADIO

• ALEXANDER BACKMAN:
“THERE IS NOW A BOUNTY FOR MY HEAD.”
• Freedom of speech, lower than ever
• Freedom House : “Only 1 in 7 people live in a country with a ‘free’ press.”

The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is the truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.

(CR NEWS/ CR NOTICAS /CRTV- Feb 25, 2015—Mexico)— I was informed via Twitter ON February 23rd, 2015 that someone put out a bid for my head. When I asked this contact about the details, he mentioned that the information is in certain forums that are part of THE DEEP WEB.  These are servers and webpages that mask themselves and are invisible to search engines. One example of this DARK OR DEEP WEB is FACEBOOK.com. But there are many others that are even more sinister. On Facebook there is even a page that says RIP Alexander Backman.

Recently, I exposed how this DEEP WEB operates, specifically Facebook with relation to Child Pornography, Child Trafficking within its confidential databases and files in its private network. Posts that often are ignored by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg making him complicit of aiding and abetting criminals.  The video report can be seen here: http://youtu.be/FL97vn-TmSk

Similarly, on the other side of the Atlantic, there is one of these such DARK SITES that make up the DEEP WEB. These are underground forums within forums, subforums where all kinds of heinous things are going on; from selling children, streaming live videos of sexual abuse, rape, torture and killings of minors, street fights to the death, bestiality, gore, snuff films, to Islamic killings.

Entrance to these highly restricted sites is by invitation only. Apparently, there is a section about posting bounty heads on people. Here is a redacted twitter message of the message.

1

I know this has everything to do with my publications, video reports and radio shows, TV and radio appearances. Based on my work,

I do not doubt that I have my share of enemies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. The most recent one could be militant Islamic radicals, members of secret societies within the Vatican.

By interviewing many personalities, I have also helped expose the Vatican’s ongoing crimes with regard to child rape conducted by priests, archbishops and others at the highest levels including the Pope.

Reports are here: http://youtu.be/cUksNYJGaIQ and here: http://concienciaradio.com/vaticano/

Other important and high-profile guests I have interviewed on matters of global security and counterterrorism have also been under threat for their lives for coming out and publicly exposing the core agenda that fuels militant Islam.  One is Reza Kahlili and another is Academic Prof. Boylan.

Now I understand why.

My enemies stem from people in the Intelligence Community Apparatus, Radical Islamists, members of Organized Crime, staunch Communists, The Mexican Left, a Retired Mexican pseudo-General, or so he says, Jaime Garcia Miramontes who, at the same time, threatened Mexican President Peña Nieto including me and my colleague Mónica Gahbler in a public video on Youtube. All because I criticized his public announcement on one of my news shows of him wanting to ignite a revolution or civil war against the current Mexican administration.

Here is one of Miramontes’ comments sent to our Google+ account on September 19, 2014. The words speak for themselves.

1

Let us be clear. No one wants this asymmetrical Civil War in Mexico to keep growing. Those who do, only have to look at Ukraine, Syria and Iraq and understand the consequences this entails. The thousands upon thousands of dead are a testament of this.

In the United States, the same agenda is being promoted by these agents provocateurs that have infiltrated the mass media and online media organizations demonizing what was once the greatest nation on earth. They have made the citizens of this country hate its own country in order to make a small spark of discontent flare up into a bonfire of chaos and social turmoil akin to the revolts in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

What people fail to realize is that this agenda has been planned in detail by the Communists since the end of World War II. The media has been infiltrated by these agents to such a degree that no one sees it anymore because their mindset has already been conditioned to think in conformity with the agenda.

Almost all, if not all revolutions and revolts are fueled, promoted or started by people with a left-oriented agenda. Call them Communists, Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, Atheists, Humanists etc. This needs to be said and acknowledged. Fascism, socialism and communism are inherently the same thing. They all do one thing, suppress the human condition by force and repression of the mind while at the same time, use the media to brainwash the population with their lie-filled agenda to further their own agenda.

Some think the current threat towards me might be coming from ISIS because of my recent video CHRISTIANS RISE! on Youtube.

Others have suggested that certain investigators of the Alternative Christian media that I and other journalists have been recently exposing their lies and manipulation of the masses could be wanting to hire a hit man to have me and these other journalists assassinated.  After all, they used open airwaves to send cryptic threats to me and express their intentions. The evidence speaks for itself in the related article
titled: DOUGLAS HAGMANN THREATENS MEXICAN JOURNALIST, ONLY CONDEMNING HIMSELF AND HIS SPONSORS ON LIVE ‘CHRISTIAN’ ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SHOW

So yes, I have my share of enemies. Four assassination plots that have not succeeded, thank God! The most recent one was in 2014. I will not go into details for security reasons.

But now, this new threat must be acknowledged against me, my colleagues and my family. First and foremost, I am a son of Jesus Christ, a language professor by trade, a federally-licensed radio host, an online journalist and lecturer. I am free thinker and a defender of freedom of speech understanding that there are indeed limits to what statements one may make over a microphone or in the press.

I am defender for human rights and will defend the right that each human being has to be in concordance with their free will but, at the same time, knowledgeable that with all actions there are consequences.

I am a defender of life and the living. No one has the right to kill the weak, the helpless nor the innocent, no matter what the distorted justification may be.

I am an advocate of freedom and the right to private property; always in alignment with moral statutes that serve as an example so we can live in harmony and peace. Knowing that this model for peace and happiness has been passed down from a higher domain than the one that we currently inhabit.

I will always fight against any antagonist force that may challenge these views and will never be subjected or submitted into fascist and Orwellian forms of social acclimation, oppression and control.

I am against corruption and its agents. I will continue to expose them to the best of my ability, knowing that I have had to apply self-censorship in many cases just to stay alive in my country of residence.

It is a lamentable and sad thing to say. I live in a state where speaking out is dangerous. A country where more journalists have been killed in the last decade than anywhere else in the world.

We are living in dangerous times. Almost 600 journalists have been killed since 2006 according to UNESCO. Most of these were not even War-Time reporters. 6 percent out of the 593 journalists killed exercising their profession from 2006-2013 were not even foreign correspondents; in other words, they were assassinated for their profession in their own nations of origin or residence.

According to The Road to Justice, a special report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists, “It isn’t just one story that ends with a journalist’s death; a climate of intimidation builds. If no one is punished, killers are emboldened, and violence repeats. Journalists have no choice but to censor themselves or even flee into exile. Targeted attacks on the media have kept the world from
understanding the full dimension of violence in Syria, drug trafficking in Mexico, militant influence in Pakistan, and corruption in Russia.” In fact, Mexico is right behind Middle-Eastern nations like Syria and Pakistan. Another fact is that Mexico is ranked #6 according to UNESCO with 43 journalists killed between 2006-2013.

1

Source: Freedom House 2014
As I said. And I say it again, Journalism is War.

It is a fact that Mexico continues being one of the worst countries in the world to exercise journalism. According to a report by the Mexican Chapter of Freedom House, in 2014 (English version here), “76 journalists were killed from the period of 2000-2013 and 16 continue missing since 2003.”

Impunity at its best.

This is the continued result of the incessant Government corruption, impunity, the ongoing criminal insurgency, and what I would characterize as a form of depraved apathy on part of legislators and other politicos for not taking action to defend us and guarantee our livelihood and allow us to do our job as journalists.

Sadly, these senseless deaths against these hommes et femmes de plume  and the negligent behavior to bring those responsible to justice can be better defined as an almost form of under-the-rug policy in failed states like Mexico.

Then of course, there is the corruption on the other side of the aisle extending to those journalists that stick out their hand under the table and who are paid off via ‘mordidas’ to publish what those in power, government, business, banking and finance want published.

But not all has gone to waste.

Now, with the online media, this has changed. They can control so much. MediaCorp Inc. is not an absolute monopoly anymore. Youtube.com and freelance online journalism has made the world of information and news a better place in many respects. In others, it has made it a not-so-better place with so much disinformation and lies being spread via this vast global network and luckily continues to be a last bastion which partially still allows freedom of expression to exist.

And I will state it again, Journalism is war. Censorship is the same as hiding the facts.

As a journalist, I have been censored before. Our media outlets, visited by millions worldwide, have been subject to such actions by those that simply want to stifle the cause for truth. We were censored in all Mexico during our coverage of the 2012 Elections by one of the leading Internet providers.

Our websites have been censored in entire countries such as Spain and others. Censored for our content of reporting the truth and the facts as we see fit. After all, this is freedom of expression, a universal right to speak out and report on matters that matter.

Freedom of Expression is our duty to defend such a God-given right is more important now than ever. What our minds think and express should never be trod on. What our mouths speak and our eyes see should never be silenced. After all, our mind is in itself a thought machine that, when at work, can produce great works to further humanity.

As a journalist, I am a champion for truth!
As an intellectual, I am a defender of critical thinking!
As a man of God, I am an upholder of Truth, at all costs!

And since Journalism is War, and the different media platforms are our battlegrounds, then let us have a good fight, a fight for truth, a fight for freedom, a fight to shed light and expose that which lurks in the shadows so it may be made known. But let us not have our voices be silenced by those who oppose the right to exercise our freedom to stand up, speak out and tell it like it is. For if it weren’t for journalism, the world would be void of that which makes it real, information. After all, we all are information and a manifestation thereof. Without information there is nothing but darkness and ignorance like we are seeing being imposed in many regions of the world like in Japan, Mali and the Middle East. And if we do not do something now to defend this right, this cancerous evil will reach every continent, country and city in this world we all have to share. After all, information and knowledge is a precious resource that we do not have the luxury to lose as time itself.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a defender of truth and freedom. He was prohibited to speak out, publish in print and express his ideas under the fascist Nazi regime. He was censored at all costs. He was harassed by the Nazi authorities and required to report his activities to the police.

In a 1932 sermon Bonhoeffer said:

“The blood of martyrs might once again be demanded, but this blood, if we really have the courage and loyalty to shed it, will not be innocent, shining like that of the first witnesses for the faith. On our blood lies heavy guilt, the guilt of the unprofitable servant who is cast into outer darkness” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Dutch MP, Geert Wilders had this to say about his right to define and express his view of Islam:

 “I see Islam not as a religion, but as a totalitarian ideology—comparable to communism and fascism.
¿Don’t I have a right to say it
?” —Geert Wilders – Dutch MP

1

There is no doubt about it. Islamofascism is the new evil in this world. It is just like Nazism, only many times worse due to its religious covering with which it enshrouds itself serving as a front for a totalitarian, tyrannical, dictatorial and authoritarian governmental system. The persecution of Christians by Radical Islamists happening today is the same as Hitler’s persecution and extermination of the Jews and Christians more than 75 years ago. We should never be persecuted or killed for speaking and thinking, but we are. Now, instead of writing and printing, producing and filming, we are self-censoring our works around the world for terror and fear of being hunted down and assassinated. We are in fact accepting Islamic rule and Islamic law in our lives.

Bonhoeffer spoke of the dangers of being silent in times of tyranny. He said:

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And also similar to Bonhoeffer, the brutal impact of communism in the Stalin regime left a deep scar on another defender of truth, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. This quote from his book The Gulag Archipelago echoes this.

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Like I said, as journalists, it is our duty for us to speak and type, and film and document what happens in this world. By not doing so, we are complicit by just sitting idly by in fear of repercussions for our actions when it is our lack of action that is condemning us.

Lastly, I ask everyone to ponder what Bonhoeffer asked to be remembered by before his execution with this:

This is the end — for me the beginning of life.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If ‘this is the end’ for me, then too, as Jesus Christ as my God, my Savior and the Holy Spirit as my witness, likewise, this will be, for me, ‘the beginning of life.’

God Speed! †

Alexander Backman
Investigative Journalist

CONCIENCIA RADIO
CR NOTICIAS /CR NEWS


Journalism and Freedom of Speech are being destroyed through Radical Islam. © Garrincha

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,