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Narcotrafficking and the Media

LATIN AMERICA
By Giselle Jacome
Guest Contributor

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I was surprised when I heard Daniel Valles speaking about Ciudad Juarez, which for many of us in the media is "the most dangerous city in the world."


But hearing him speak and seeing the photos of real life filled my heart with hope.  What Valles was showing was different.  It's a reconstruction of the city, a clean place, harmonious, without the bodies dangling from bridges or corpses dismembered by the worst of humanity.  This is another scene altogether.

And so I ask myself, "What has Juarez done in order to overcome its reputation in the media, conquering narcotrafficking atrocities, serial crimes and disappearances?"

The answer quickly becomes clear when we observe this new scenario with a journalist's eye.  We understand that a true communicator had to see things differently in order to adequately relate the message this city wants to show the world, its other face - the face of recovery.

And it is in that "seeing differently" that we communicators will find our true calling in the creation of information.  Only then will we present a message with an option for learning, and not only of punishment or morbid fascination. 

We are ethical, truthful communicators, Christians, but are we situated correctly?  Are we doing the best we can?  Or are we simply repeating a message someone else did us the favor of editing? 

If I excel at writing, I will dedicate myself to my writing stories, but if I excel at reading and a I have a good voice, I will create an informative radio program.  And if I communicate better with images, I will dedicate my time to the camera.  But wherever we find ourselves, we must carry out our tasks with love, with ethics, and with commitment.

When we comprehend our true calling in the world of communication, we won't dedicate our front pages to narcotraffickers because we refuse to glorify their violent acts - the very acts they use to strike fear in our hearts.

I will report the disturbing things I see and analyze, but I will locate them in the back pages.  Indirectly, this sends the message that, for me, what is most important is the good that takes place in my society and not the evil that evil people want us to reflect. 

We cannot continue giving tribute to murders, narcotraffickers and their horrors.  We need to create new generations that do not prioritize violence in their publications.  We are responsible for what is ranked as primary and secondary in our media spaces.  We must not give in to the game of violence.

The message of Jesus also comes to mind here.  He spoke most often of reconstruction, love, and compassion.  And I connect that to Valles' message, where Valles says he wants to once again take control of his city, a movement he has helped to start by cleaning the city. 

I do not doubt that he was fearful at the beginning, given that his city was the "world's most dangerous."  But he went ahead and founded Let's Defend Juarez, and there began the transformation.

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