<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español October 23, 2014 | Issue #67


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Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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Support the Newspaper that Encourages and Defends My Freedom to Report

“I don't have to worry about how I'm going to be censored. That nightmare is over.”


By Erin Rosa
Staff Reporter, Narco News

September 21, 2010

Having spent a brief six years toiling in professional newsrooms in the United States, I’m still surprised by the sheer number of people who have tried to shut me up or discredit me for simply doing my job and telling the truth. Powerful people with money threatened frivolous lawsuits. There were random death threats sent to my inbox. Military commanders accused me of jeopardizing national security. On more than one occasion, press secretaries said they would cut off my access to media events if I didn’t write my stories the way they wanted me to write them.


Staff Reporter Erin Rosa
Veteran scribes in the media industry, who were reprimanded by their bosses for being scooped by a twentysomething on stories that they were too lazy to write, directed their time and energy towards speculating about my personal life. There were problems inside the newsrooms I worked at too. Certain bosses would kill a story if it irked anyone who had given the newspaper money. Other bosses would try and force me to write a story to help out a political ally. None of these tactics succeeded in keeping me quiet of course, but when you work as a journalist in the United States it comes with the territory.

With that experience in mind, it was a real breath of fresh air to travel to Mexico last February and attend the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism. There, for ten days in Quintana Roo and the Yucatán, I was lucky enough to work with colleagues from more than 30 countries who, like me, had also refused to shut up—all while facing far more gruesome obstacles than I had experienced in my country. Some who attended the school had been beaten, threatened with murder and rape. Why? Because they dared to publish stories about a coup d’état, or torture that was being used by police to terrorize their communities.

I remember thinking, “How easy would it have been for them, if they had just kept their mouths shut?” They sure would have saved themselves a lot of grief if they would’ve walked away, if they would’ve stopped writing and broadcasting the truth. Then I began to think, “What would happen if they had chosen to stay quiet?” How many people would continue to suffer, or be ignored? How many more people would have ended up dead, if these reporters had succumbed to the easy temptation of silence? The fact is that the repercussions of being silent are often times far more brutal than the risks of choosing to speak up, for both the communities we cover and our personal conscience. Authentic journalists know there are serious consequences when you shut up. This is what separates us from the rest.

That was the most important lesson I learned from the school, and it’s why I’ve left the newsrooms of the United States to come and work with Narco News. For more than 10 years now, this newspaper has flatly refused to kowtow to anyone who seeks to silence journalists. I don’t have to go to sleep at night worrying about how I’m going to be censored the next morning. That nightmare is over.

There’s only one way to make someone like me shut up. The only thing to have ever succeeded in silencing authentic journalists is not having the financial resources that enable us to do our work.

By contributing to Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism you are allowing us to continue telling the truth, even when doing so takes a whole lot of courage sometimes. Your much-needed and appreciated donation gives us the freedom to provide original content that can’t be found anywhere else to readers and collaborators like you.

You can donate online at this link:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org

Or you can send a check (please note the new address):

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027

Thank you for all your generosity and support,

Erin Rosa
Staff Reporter, Narco News

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America