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August 18, 2010 / jeni

Other Voices: Blog del Narco

[h/t Daniel Bennett]

More than 28,000 people have been killed in Mexican drug violence since January 2007. Now the Chicago Tribune reports on a fascinating new Mexican blog that has become the go-to source for detailed information on new killings, gruesome photo and video evidence of crime scenes, and warnings from the killers themselves.

An anonymous, twentysomething blogger is giving Mexicans what they can’t get elsewhere — an inside view of their country’s raging drug war. Operating from behind a thick curtain of computer security, Blog del Narco in less than six months has become Mexico’s go-to Internet site at a time when mainstream media are feeling pressure and threats to stay away from the story.

Many postings, including warnings and a beheading, appear to come directly from drug traffickers. Others depict crime scenes accessible only to military or police. The undifferentiated content suggests that all sides are using the blog — drug gangs to project their power, law enforcement to show that it too can play rough, and the public to learn about incidents that the mainstream media are forced to ignore or play down.

The blog raises interesting ethical questions. On the one hand, it publishes useful information that the public cannot access from any other source (see the LA Times on narco-censorship). On the other hand, it facilitates the cartels’ use of media to intimidate and threaten both rivals and civilians.

Without a  doubt, however, it is an important source for anyone investigating the ongoing Mexican drug war.

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