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Self-censorship growing in Mexico

While sometimes the most obvious forms of censorship can be seen through the direct silencing of government, many journalists are forced to censor themselves as violence could become life threatening to their work.

Mexico as of late has been plagued by large amounts of violence due to an increased prominence of drug trafficking gangs in the country. This has created a dangerous dynamic for freedom of speech rights in the country as the government and the cartels have made the speech of citizens and journalists increasingly difficult.

Surveillance from the Mexican government
The Mexican government has enacted many surveillance measures in order to help thwart violence in the country, however, in doing so, it has led to violations of the individual rights of citizens, according to the Index on Censorship. For example, the Mexican government has purchased extensive amounts of equipment that grants access to cell phone and online communications software, which can be used to monitor citizen activity.

While the intention is to be able to prevent violence, such actions could be seen as free speech violations. They also look all too familiar to the kinds of programs that the NSA has been using against its own citizens in the name of preventing terrorism.

Drug cartels and self-censorship
However, these are not the only ways in which speech is limited within the country. According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, during the six-year term of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, which ended in 2012, more journalists have died than during any other part of Mexico's history.

Part of this is because many of the drug cartels that have been perpetuating the violence in the country have sought out various journalists. The news source discusses the story of one photographer, who took a picture of the death of a cartel leader just after a clash with the government, that had to flee the country after the cartel put a bounty on his head.

Another story that the news source recalls is that of the prominent magazine, Proceso, which announced that it would no longer publish its writers names, out of a precaution to prevent violence against its journalists. Despite these steps, one of its journalists from Veracruz was murdered in 2012.

What makes the situation in Mexico so complicated is that there is no one party that is perpetuating these limitations on free speech. In many cases its is a single government or organization that does so, but in Mexico it comes from both sides. While one is more violent than another, preventing such speech in both instances only perpetuates the political problems of the country.

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