Police investigators remove the body
of reporter Armando Rodríguez
Carreón from his car in the border
city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (right).
JAVIER E TXEZARRE TA/EPA/CORBIS; YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GE T T Y; ALEJANDRO BRINGAS/REUTERS
the arrest of 28 gang members linked to the killing. But
the arrest provided little reassurance to local journalists, who are keenly aware that they could share Poveda’s fate if they are not cautious. Salvadoran journalists
recognize that they lack training and preparation to
practice investigative reporting on the origins of gang
violence. But it is also an extremely dangerous beat to
cover, local journalists say.
In Colombia, journalists have arguably been living
with fear for much longer. During the five-decade civil
conflict, journalists have been targets of leftist rebels,
right-wing paramilitary forces, drug traffickers, and corrupt officials. While statistics show a steady decline in
media slayings over the last five years, the still-hostile
climate toward the media has silenced many journalists—especially those working in the country’s interior.
Many Colombian reporters in fact have been forced to
flee the country. One added complication is that local
government officials occasionally accuse journalists
of having ties with illegal armed groups, thus endangering the lives of reporters and further encouraging
Brazil: Law of the Favela
Brazil’s vibrant democracy—and vibrant press— does not often command attention as an en- dangered place for investigative journalism. But at least 15 Brazilian journalists have been killed since 1992. Many of those most at risk
work in remote areas of the country where the power
of the central government is weak and local officialdom
is corrupt. But even large urban centers like São Paulo
and Rio de Janeiro have no-go areas of press coverage. In
favelas dominated by drug trafficking and other criminal groups, reporting that touches on sensitive issues
can bring lethal retaliation.
The brutal 2002 murder of Tim Lopes, a prominent
investigative reporter for TV Globo, continues to serve
as a chilling reminder of the dangers of reporting too