SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — In January of this year, two journalists were killed in Tijuana within a week of each other, both shot and killed outside their homes.
Lourdes Maldonado and Margarito Martinez were well-known and respected among their peers.
According to the Associated Press, they are two of 15 journalists who have been killed so far this year in Mexico.
Maldonado and Martinez’s deaths were the genesis for a series produced by fellow journalists who work for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“After experiencing the deaths of two of our colleagues in Tijuana in January of this year, we tried to gather and figure out a way to show the risks,” said Tonia Navarro, one of the producers. “These journalists work day and night effortlessly just to bring information to their audiences.”
Navarro has been a reporter for 18 years, working in both Tijuana and for newspapers north of the border. She is presently working as a community opinion editor for the Union-Tribune.
She helped put together the five-part series titled Journalism at Risk, which follows five journalists as they document news south of the border.
“We have this amazing photojournalist that works at night, this amazing young girl that works as a photographer. She’s in her 20s and is the only female photographer. We have Sonia De Anda, who is the leader of the Yo Si Soy Periodista group; Gabriela Martinez, who is a cancer survivor; and Inez Garcia, who started as a reporter and co-founded her own media site.”
Navarro says journalists are in constant danger when they work in cities like Tijuana.
“Journalism is at risk because it’s not just killings, but it’s also harassment, it’s attacks and assaults that go against reporters,” she said.
Navarro pointed to a recent incident in which a photojournalist was attacked at a crime scene in front of two police officers who refused to get involved or press charges against the assailant.
“This is commonplace,” said Navarro.
She stated violence against journalists is something that should worry people on both sides of the border.
“Tijuana is part of our community and the fact that journalists are at risk there, it also affects our community on the north side of the border.”
Navarro is encouraging everyone to see the series — each of the five segments is about five minutes long.
“The emphasis of the series is to present the reality in which these journalists work, and they do an amazing job … They’re brave, very wise and we wanted to pay tribute and honor them because of the work they do, we know that it’s dangerous,” she said.