Mexico: Drug cartels shift threats to social media

A forensic worker walks at the city's morgue past the recovered bodies of people that had been dumped around Veracruz September 22, 2011. At least 11 more bodies were dumped around the Mexican city of Veracruz on Thursday, according to local media reports, two days after the discovery of 35 other corpses in the once-quiet Gulf port.The bodies found on Thursday were in small groups scattered in various parts of the city, despite high security for a summit of attorneys general and justice officials. (REUTERS/Yahir Ceballos)

NPR's John Burnett, whose reporting I have admired for many years, has a story on All Things Considered today about social media and the drug war in Mexico.

In areas where they are powerful, the Mexican drug cartels silenced the mainstream media by threatening and killing journalists. Now they seem to be extending the practice to social media.

Many Mexicans have had to rely on social media to find out what's going on in their cities after newspapers, TV and radio stations stopped reporting on drug-related violence.

But last week, the mangled bodies of a young man and woman were hung from a highway bridge in Nuevo Laredo along with a sign that read: "This is what happens to people who post funny things on the Internet. Pay attention."

People are paying attention.

"It suggests that the blogosphere has been included in the media landscape that the cartels are looking at. Because up until now it has only been traditional media — print, TV and radio," says Javier Garza, the editor of El Siglo de Torreon, a newspaper in the neighboring Coahuila state, which is also aflame with cartel violence.

Listen here.

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