Mexican media's coverage of the drug war in their country has a been a "disgrace," an award-winning journalist from the Aztec nation said here Tuesday.
Humberto Padgett delivered a lecture as part of the summer journalism course organized by Agencia EFE and Santander's Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo.
He recounted the work he and colleague Dalia Martinez Delgado put into their investigative series about the marijuana industry and the Caballeros Templarios crime outfit in western Mexico's Tierra Caliente region.
The reporting earned Padgett and Martinez Delgado a King of Spain Journalism Prize in 2011.
"There exists a very complex social context around drug trafficking in Mexico, which is what imposes on us the necessity to tell the stories," Padgett said.
Padgett, a past recipient of Spanish daily El Pais' Ortega y Gasset prize, said Mexican journalists have become jaded about the drug war, which has claimed well over 100,000 lives in the last eight years.
Some of Mexico's major media outlets, moved by bribes or threats, have even allowed "organized crime to decide what happens in our newsrooms," he said.
He also complained of journalists who dateline their stories "from the depths of hell" though the pieces were actually written "at their desks in some comfortable neighborhood of Mexico City, with a bottle of whiskey at hand."
The "quantity of lies that are told" by the Mexican media discredits journalism as a profession, Padgett said.
Lamenting Mexicans' apathy in the face of the murders of nearly 100 media workers in the last five years, he said many citizens no longer believe journalists because reporters have spent "decades and decades lying to them." EFE