posts about or somewhat related to ‘reportero’

Now Showing: Reportero

Last summer we interviewed Bernardo Ruiz, the director of Reportero, a documentary that follows the crime and drug war reporting of a Tijuana-based newsweekly called Zeta.

The hour-long film gets its PBS premiere on POV this Monday January 7.

Via POV:

In Mexico, more than 50 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced?

For our interviews with Bernardo, see here.

More important, tune in to POV Monday. A full description of the film is here and includes a background on Mexican press freedom over the last 25 years.

The Newspaper That Doesn’t Hold Back

Above is an FJP interview with Bernardo Ruiz, director of the documentary Reportero, on the making of the film. Last week we posted an interview with him about violence against journalists in Mexico:

Since 2006, 48 journalists in Mexico have been killed, but even this is a conservative estimate, Ruiz says. Over the past 3 years, Mexico has reached number 8 on CPJ’s impunity index, which records the number of unsolved murders of journalists around the world. 

The film, both chilling and riveting, follows Seminario Zeta, a hard-hitting investigative weekly newspaper based in Tijuana. Ruiz takes us through the history of the paper’s founding in 1980, during the PRI era when Mexico’s authoritarian and repressive government was intolerant of any criticism. Despite this, Jesús Blancornelas, a journalist fired from five papers for his gutsy editorial stance, decided the only way to practice honest, investigative journalism was to create a paper run by journalists, free of any governmental or corporate interests.

The paper was published in the United States, where Blancornelas had been exiled, and his wife would take pages across the border to edit two or three times a day. To this day, it is still printed in California and then imported into Mexico—an expensive way to ensure freedom of expression.

The film follows the staff of Zeta through its history and over the last few years in Mexico, building a nuanced, shocking portrait of what life for Mexican journalists is like. Ruiz takes us through process of reporting each narco story, the steps taken to armor cars, security measures taken against threats faced by reporters, and the murders of colleagues. The film is filled with photographs from Zeta’s early days, to present day murders and attacks.

FJP takeaway: Freedom of expression is a practice you choose. Taking what precaution against danger they can—and threats in stride—the staff of Zeta prove that the only way to guarantee freedom of expression is to reach for it with all your might, take risks, and never give up.

"You could see our writers crying as they typed," says Zeta co-director Adel Navarro of a murder attempt on Blancornelas. "Because our leader was fighting for his life."

More: See the trailer here. Follow the Reportero Project here.

Bernardo Ruiz On Violence Against Journalists in Mexico

Bernardo Ruiz is the director of Reportero, a documentary film about the violence faced by Mexican journalists, which he tells through the story of Zeta, an independent newsweekly committed to reporting on corruption and drug cartels despite the danger its reporters face.

Since 2006, 48 journalists in Mexico have been killed, but even this is a conservative estimate, Ruiz says. Over the past 3 years, Mexico has reached number 8 on CPJ’s impunity index, which records the number of unsolved murders of journalists around the world. 

We sat down with Ruiz at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in NYC last week to discuss what’s going on in Mexico. Learn more about the film at Reportero Project, and pay special attention to its blog, which has continued coverage of Mexico.

Past Coverage: For past FJP coverage on Mexico click here. For more detailed background, see The Guardian’s coverage of drug violence in Mexico, which includes some interactives.

More to come: Later this week we’ll post our review of the documentary along with an interview on its making.


REPORTERO is one of the many amazing films being shown at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival this year.

The film follows veteran reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana, Mexico-based weekly, as they dauntingly ply their trade in what has become one of the most deadly places in the world to be a journalist.

Since the paper’s founding in 1980, two of the paper’s editors have been murdered and the founder viciously attacked. Despite the attacks, the paper has continued its singular brand of aggressive investigative reporting, frequently tackling dangerous subjects that other publications avoid, such as cartels’ infiltration of political circles and security forces.

Human Rights Watch has documented an alarming rise in attacks and threats against journalists and human rights defenders in the context of Mexico’s “war on drugs,” virtually none of which are adequately investigated. Human Rights Watch’s most recent report on Mexico—Neither Rights Nor Security—documents killings, disappearances, and torture committed by security forces in five of the Mexican states most-affected by drug-related violence, including Baja California, where Zeta is published. Several of the cases of torture documented by Human Rights Watch in Tijuana were covered in the pages of Zeta.

FJP: If you’re in New York, the Human Rights Watch film festival runs from June 14 to June 28. Information about this and other films is here