Restrained Freedom of Speech: An Oxymoron of Human Rights and Why it Matters by Ericka Barroso

Carmen Aristegui. Saying she is a well known journalist in Mexico would be an understatement. Yet recently, she was fired for doing the exact thing she is paid to do: reporting. Even though freedom of speech was granted in my home country in the year 1857, journalists today still fear for their jobs, and even their lives every time their stories fall out of the norm. This fear has escalated to such ridiculous heights that, today, Mexico is among the 5 most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist (Reporters Without Borders) occupying the 3rd place in 2011 and rising with every passing year. Sadder still? Casualties are never reported as work-related but as accidents instead. As if being beheaded or having your life threatened happened during everyday walks. Being a journalist is also among the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the world in case you were wondering, but this article is not only about complaining.

In the same way the United States proudly housed “free” slaves in the past, Mexico is inhabited by restrained journalists yet we are starting to finally see a change. Carmen Aristegui made the “mistake” of reporting “lies” about our first lady and this resulted in her being fired. But also in a massive response not only from Mexicans, but from organizations as recognized as the United Nations. People all over share their support for a common cause: the freedom of speech we were all granted years ago, yet are still unable to use.

Aristegui has not been the only journalist to lose her job for reporting “offensive” information or the first one to be affected by her opinions nor will she be the last but maybe, if people keep responding the way they have since recent events, truly caring about the news being censored and them being lied to,this problem might encounter a steady decrease. In a time where communication is essential and information is at the tip of our fingertips, it is hard to stop the lies from surfacing. In the same way readers share the news they find, they should share and voice the ideals they convey. Make use of that which is being denied to you, speak up.

Mexico is a beautiful country, yet a hard one to live in sometimes but maybe, some day, thanks to the joined effort of all those today, next time I am asked what my chosen career path is, people will not try to talk me out of it once I proudly answer “journalist.”


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