Do I believe that Blog del Narco is original source of news not reported elsewhere?
First, there a very real climate of fear surrounding the publication of any narco-news and direct threats to publishers (mainstream and informal) are well documented. When a threat is generalized and vague it must taken seriously in Mexico. Warnings and threats are not always blatant in-your-face encounters, but frequently rely on implied danger and harmful consequences. In northwest Mexico, even the slang code word to warn of impending danger, - "agua", is as vague and indirect as most threats. Implied threats can carry more weight and be even more frightening than direct confrontations. But clearly, the warnings also take concrete form - News outlets have been routinely bombed, reporters have disappeared, reporters are murdered, and direct warnings are regularly conveyed to anyone who posts reports about crime and corruption that criminals and others do not want to see in print. Those threats, whether specific or generalized, can come from anywhere— narcos, politicians, police and the army. We should recognize that Lucy la bloguera is operating in a climate and a context where everyone does think twice about what they say in public, and they are even more cautious about what they put into words. Trained journalists understand this code and recognize the danger, and they are always aware of how far they can go in reporting a story. Basically, the argument here is that el Blog del Narco appears in a climate of clear and imminent threat and the code for reporting crime and violence is ambiguous and amorphous as a stream of water or a murky pond.
Second, there is concrete evidence that the larger cartels are really monitoring the news and the internet! They ARE monitoring what appears in print and online. I've been told directly about phone calls from narcos made directly to the authors of an article that appeared in obscure blogs warning them to be careful. The number of hits that el Blog del Narco receives makes Lucy a very likely target for warnings and threats. And of course, it is also 100% likely that she has received stories and information directly from one DTO or another. We may find it difficult to believe that this level of monitoring or direct pressure happens, but the reality is that it does. It is true that the fact of monitoring by narcos doesn't directly answer the question of why el Blog del Narco doesn't cite sources, but it does illustrate clearly that journalists and bloggers in Mexico are operating under a different set of conditions than we do on our side of the Rio Bravo and the Mexican border. We are happy when our blogs and notices are watched, and we don't worry that they might be watched by people who are capable of hurting us or a family.
The third reason that el Blog del Narco might have left out links is much more mundane. Originally, I posted information to this blog site by scanning articles daily and posting a short description of the news a link back to the original source. I also classified articles into categories such as Human Rights Violations, Corruption, Los Zetas etc. I can personally testify to the fact that undertaking to collect so many regional reports and news items and converting them to formats to post is both time consuming and tedious. And I can testify that there is a lot of work involved in tracking links and making certain they are correct and are working. Adding the references and the links to the items was the most time consuming and problematic part of those posts. Most charitably, I might be willing to accept that Lucy and el Blog del Narco didn't allocate the time to take that final step of verifying links— but I do admit that this is not a convincing argument in her defense. I think that the first two reasons I suggested are much more convincing reasons for doing things on the fly.
Does el Blog del Narco serve a purpose?
Should Blog del Narco acknowledge its sources?
Is Blog del Narco unique in Mexico in borrowing and sharing news reports?
|Rocha: Proceso 1902- |
Should we really be bothered over the allegations that Blog del Narco does not use original material and that it does not acknowledge this practise?
I personally don't think so, but I do acknowledge that it's not my material that is being used and reprinted. I have personally had material used without acknowledgement and for profit by unscrupulous journalists who "borrowed it". That's why this narcocartels.com blog site has faded away - but unlike El Blog del Narco, my musings and research were used by individuals who hoped to gain a substantial profit. In the case of Blog del Narco, I can't see how someone has profited (...yet?).
One thing that strikes me in this emerging controversy is how journalists within Mexico (see the Al Jazeerah broadcast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgcPZ-ta-y4&feature=youtu.be) are not as vocal nor concerned about charges of plagiarism as are bloggers on the other side of the Rio Bravo. In the Al Jazeerah broadcast Lydia Cacho recognizes that El Blog del Narco does not represent "true journalism", but she also argues that El Blog del Narco plays a very important role in raising general knowledge about narco violence, corruption and abuses of human rights within Mexico.
The fact is that most complaints directed toward El Blog del Narco are coming from outside of Mexico and fewer voices are heard from within Mexico. It seems to me that at least some of the discomfort about Lucy la bloguera y su plagio is one more example of foraneos imposing a narrative onto a Mexican issue. And problematically, that conversion of the narrative twists the focus of attention away from the real problems faced by Mexicans.
For more information about the criticisms of El Blog del Narco: see http://themexpatriate.com/2013/04/12/anonymous-chronicling-the-drug-war-in-cyberspace/
What does this argument of cultural appropriation have to do with complaints about Blog del Narco?
LINK TO SPANISH LANGUAGE WAN-IFRA NEWS RELEASE IS http://www.wan-ifra.org/es/articles/2013/04/15/gobiernos-estatales-uno-de-los-principales-obstaculos-para-la-libertad-de-prensa