In a period where Journalists raise the ire of President #Donald Trump, the dangers for American journalists are not the same as those faced by their counterparts in many countries, including those in South America. The profession of informing the public can quite literally be deadly.


America’s southern neighbour has a sad record of being amongst the places with most journalists killed in the world. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in Mexico 35 journalists have been killed doing their work since 1992 and often by horrific means such as burning and after being tortured beforehand.

As reported in a number of newspapers, the latest fatality occurred last week when Cecilio Pineda Birto was killed in Guerrero State. As with many of the others in the continent, he was killed for his investigations into the local drug wars.

Deadly continent

According to statistics from the Committee to Protect Journalists, under the category of “murdered” as cause of deaths for journalists since 1992 South America plays a prominent part. In the top twenty four countries are from the continent Colombia with 43, Brazil with 37, Mexico with 35 and Peru with 8.

From the names of the countries it is obvious that drugs are a major contributing factor, but the deadliness of South American politics would also play a part in countries such as Nicaragua, Paraguay and Panama where journalists were also murdered in the same period listed above.

All too often residents of modern democracies such as the United States, Canada and the members of the European Union consider the activities of journalists as a normal part of daily life. In fact we often complain they are intrusive, or bothersome, but we do not murder them for undertaking their job. At the same time we do not understand that there is a heavy cost for their work.

In the cases of the many deaths, one thing is certain. They died to supply us the news we read every day and often their reports do lead to important developments as they reveal corruption or wrongdoing.

Yet the most important aspect of their deaths is the cruellest and also the most banal, nobody can accuse these deaths of being “fake news”. There is nothing fake about being murdered for doing your job.