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More Mexican Journalists Killed For Probing Corruption Than Cartels

Jorge Sanchez, son of slain journalist Moises Sanchez, director of the newspaper La Union
Jorge Sanchez, son of slain journalist Moises Sanchez, director of the newspaper La Union

MEXICO CITY — Who's killing Mexico's journalists?

Reporters and editors have increasingly been targeted for murder during the ongoing war against Mexican drug cartels. But a recent investigation by Mexico City-based newspaper El Universal shows that a majority of the journalists killed were not investigating narcotics trafficking, but local police news and national politics.

Some 58% of the 88 journalists murdered in Mexico since 2000 primarily covered police news and national politics, compared to only 23% covering narcotics trafficking. The report illustrates how reporters in the country have become targets not only for drug cartels, but also for corrupt local governments involved in drug trafficking.

Mexican journalists are often on the front lines of their country's vicious struggle against the cartels, but they also frequently uncover financial and political corruption at all levels of government. Seven reporters have been killed so far in 2015, representing a worrying rise since numbers began to fall after President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2013, promising to end his predecessor's full-blown war on the country's numerous drug cartels.

According to the El Universal report, most of the murdered journalists were gunned down in their homes or on the street, and over half of the assassinations occurred in the conflict-ridden states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Guerrero. In areas where drug cartels may hold more power or legitimacy than the government, or where police themselves are linked to organized crime, the lines become dangerously blurred for investigative reporters.

"Some local administrations have been taken over by organized crime," said researcher Luis Daniel Vazquez. "This is very grave, because journalists reporting threats to the police worsen their own situation."

In cities like Veracruz, the constant killings have intimidated newspapers into refraining from exposing too much information on the local drug trade. But in others, like the once-infamous Ciudad Juarez, journalists have continued to risk their lives for their laudable work. Elsewhere the situation is more complicated, and some cartels have even sought to establish relationships with the press to smear and keep tabs on their rivals.

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Geopolitics

Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen

-Analysis-

HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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