In the past 20 years, 119 journalists have been killed in Mexico, making that country the most dangerous in the world for reporters.
To honor those murdered, a group of 60 journalists from 25 media outlets around the world picked up some of the reporting threads they left behind, producing an engaging look at the transformation of drug cartels called “The Cartel Project.”
The collaboration was coordinated by the three-year-old, Paris-based group Forbidden Stories, founded by Laurent Richard.
“We think that when a reporter gets killed, [the reporter] is getting killed because of the information of the stories,” Richard told Texas Standard. “So we need to protect the information, and to make sure that the people get access to what is very important.”
Richard’s network was drawn to Mexico primarily because of the high journalism death toll. But they were also interested in the stories behind the rise of the cartels because it is a story that involves several nations around the world.
“When journalists in Mexico get killed, it’s not only a Mexican story; that’s a worldwide story,” Richard said.
The stories they produced trace how guns coming from Europe and the United States arm the cartels. Also, they show how the cartels are exporting their drug recipes to gangs in other countries and tapping raw materials from China.
“They are selling drugs in more than 50 countries in the world,” he said. “They’re behaving like a big company; they are a multinational corporation.”