July 27, 2012 1 Comment
In Guatemala, journalism is a game of self-censorship: You say as much as you can about what is happening, and as little as you can about who is doing it.
It’s no secret that Guatemala is a dangerous country: Central America’s largest nation is teeming with gangs, violence and crime. Its precarious positioning, on the main corridor for US-bound drugs, makes it one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman and one of the most dangerous places in the Americas to be a journalist.
Efforts to improve security have only lead to greater militarisation, abuse within the police force and an erosion of the law. Many suggest that the war on drugs is becoming a war on women; rape, torture and killing are as common now amongst females as they were during the country’s 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996.
Journalism here is a game of self-censorship: you say as much as you can about what is happening, and as little as you can about who is doing it. Those who speak out against impunity do so with the knowledge that their words could cost them their life. So, consequently, the desire to report reality is offset by concerns for personal safety.