Gang control of the media

In an article which I just recently read, (the link to which is attached at the bottom of the blog) the author describes a situation related to a gang’s attempt to control the media. The author of the article reported on a case where a young female doctor from Tamaulipas was murdered by a gang. The young woman was murdered because she had been contributing news stories to an organization known as Valor por Tamaulipas. This organization is “a citizen media platform that allows users to file anonymous reports on violence, particularly incidents concerning organized crime and the drug trade.” The article went on to describe that the Valor por Tamaulipas organization has been threatened by gangs since its creation in 2012. These threats have some times caused the organization to cease its activities for a time. The article claims that, due to gang violence against the press, there exists “information vacuums” in public security issues. Social media and groups such as Valor por Tamaulipas are citizen driven media sources that attempt to fill the information vacuum. However, these mediums, organizations, and individuals have become “prime targets for drug organizations.”

This article is very interesting as it illustrates many topics related to media and drug organizations. The concept of “information vacuums” is intriguing, indicating a general lack of information and knowledge among the citizens. This is due to criminal organizations’ violent actions and threats against the traditional media. As discussed in class, the gangs attempt to control the media and thus limit information, and therefore power, of the citizens. Furthermore, gangs attempt to control media to obtain the means to create their own perceived reality of situations. However, these information vacuums are quickly filled by social media and anonymous information groups such as Valor por Tamaulipas. While it is true that the gangs quickly attempt to control or eliminate these new forms of media and information sources/discussions, it is compelling that media and accurate information follows a balloon effect as well. Perhaps, no matter how organized crime changes or grows or adapts, the media will as well in order to always provide accurate information revealing the crimes of the organized crime groups and exposing them to the public.

An additional aspect of the article that was interesting is that it mentioned how a lack of freedom of expression protection from the Mexican state contributed to the creation of information vacuums. Obviously, the Tamaulipas area is, at least in some ways, a brown area. Furthermore, the state is not providing some essential roles of security and protection of rights as it ought. What makes this so interesting is that the people have attempted to provide this role themselves, by utilizing social media and anonymous news organizations. Whereas earlier in class we discussed gangs creating parallel states by providing social roles, here the people are in position to provide themselves those roles. If the people can find some way to prevent or limit gang violence against these information organizations, then perhaps they will start to create institutions and roles that could develop into a citizen run parallel state.