|Type Blog, newspaper, forum|
Founded 2 March 2010
|Founder(s) Two adolescents|
Blog del Narco (The Blog about the Drug Trafficking Industry) was an unpaid blog that attempts to document the violent incidents and characters involved in the Mexican Drug War that never make it to government reports or the mainstream media. MSNBC described Blog del Narco as "Mexico's go-to Web site on information on the country's drug war." Additionally, The Houston Chronicle said that Blog del Narco is "a gritty, front-row seat to Mexico's drug war."
The author spends four hours per day working on the website. To deal with the increased workload, he asked a friend to help him. In Mexico, many traditional journalistic outlets have been threatened and harassed due to stories about the drug trafficking industry they dared publish, so anonymous blogs like Blog del Narco have taken the role of reporting on events related to the drug war. The author, an anonymous computer security student in his 20s from northern Mexico, uses computer security techniques to obscure his identity. His anonymity has been maintained. When he conducted an interview with the Associated Press, he used a disguised telephone number. Nate Freeman of The Observer said "his facelessness allowed him get away with stories that would endanger known journalists[...]"
The Guardian and Los Angeles Times noted that Blog del Narco is a response to Mexico's "narco-censorship," a term used when reporters and editors of the Mexican Drug War, out of fear or caution, are forced to either write what the drug lords demand, or remain silent by not writing anything at all. If they do not comply with what the drug cartels demand, the journalists may be kidnapped, intimidated, or even killed.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, 51 journalist have been killed in Mexico between the years 2000 and 2011. The National Human Rights Commission, however, reported that 74 journalists had been killed during that time. With the growing violence of the Mexican Drug War, media watchdogs have considered Mexico to be one of the most dangerous countries in which to be a journalist.
The author began the website in March 2010 as a hobby. The author said that he created the website because the Government of Mexico was not reporting the violence and was trying to pretend that "nothing [was] happening." According to an interview done by Boing Boing, the creators of Blog del Narco said that they also decided to begin a blog and report about the Mexican Drug War because the media was "intimidated" and the "government had apparently been bought."
They decided to broadcast what is actually happening in Mexico—without alteration or modifications of convenience—and help Mexicans take all necessary precautions to protect their own well-being. The bloggers decided to upload videos to YouTube and comment as @infonarco on Twitter; from there on, they began to see that the population was looking for "a medium that didn't pre-digest the news" before publishing it.
During the early days of Blog del Narco, the general population of méxico submitted only a small number of reports to them, but as people came to trust this journalistic medium, reports have become abundant and of great relevance. The creators and current editors of the blog "have not received any threats yet." The creator hopes that they do not, however, because he said they "never intend to offend or inconvenience society" and only publish in the manner of other journalists. He then said that "only two close friends" know his true identity, and that he has never failed to upload a picture or video for being too graphic.
The Huffington Post stated that in a period of less than six months, Blog del Narco "has become Mexico's go-to Internet site" for drug cartel events. A video posted on Blog del Narco outlined a prison warden's system of letting prisoners free at night so they could commit murders for drug cartels. As a result of the video, the prison warden was arrested.
In May 2013 it was revealed that one of the authors of Blog del Narco was a female in her early 20s who goes by the pseudonym "Lucy." In early May, Lucy fled Mexico for the United States (Texas), then Spain. She was prompted by a message from her missing partner that said one word- "run." Lucy said, "I'm trying to think positively but I'm scared something terrible has happened. 'Run' was our codeword for when something was very wrong. We had never used it before."
According to the author, the blog posts all cartel-related media, regardless of the cartel affiliation or content. Some of the videos posted on the website show incidents of murder and torture. Spencer Ackerman of Wired said, "even if you don’t read Spanish (like me), the images on Blog Del Narco tell the gruesome story. Old, wealthy men held hostage and humiliated. Paramilitary cops in ski masks taking dudes into custody. People walking the streets in body armor, automatic weapons out. Then there’s all the dead bodies and shot-up cars."
Jo Tuckman of Dawn said that the website's contents are "a catalogue of horror absent even from the national press, which still covers the violence from the relative safety of its headquarters in the capital." Duncan Robinson of the New Statesman said "To say that the blog's coverage is raw is an understatement. It is visceral and undigested. This is news unprocessed, unadulterated and uncensored. Where a news editor would cut away, Blog del Narco's footage lingers. Decapitations are not described, they are pictured. It's unapologetically violent. The blog's raison d'être is simple: to reflect what is happening."
As of September 2010, the blog had three million unique monthly views. By 2011, it became one of the most visited websites in Mexico. Members of police and drug cartel groups directly read the blog.
The author of the blog said that he is doing a service by publishing sensitive details about the Mexican Drug War that journalist organizations in Mexico are hesitant to publish for fear of retaliation. The blogger said, "for the scanty details that they (mass media) put on television, they get grenades thrown at them and their reporters kidnapped. We publish everything. Imagine what they could do to us."
Carlos Lauria of the Committee to Protect Journalists criticized the website, saying that it was "produced by someone who is not doing it from a journalistic perspective. He is doing it without ethical considerations." Many critics said that the blog provides free public relations for the cartel groups.