Mexico through the eyes of the international media

Mexico’s portrayal in the international media has been marred due to the number of domestic challenges the country has been facing. In response toward this, people from both within and outside the country are seeking to promote the more positive sides of what is a historically rich culture.

Mexico in the media

This will no doubt be difficult, given how vehemently Mexico has been associated with drug wars and violence. In 2006, its government took a military stance against drug cartels which inadvertently worsened the situation. Only in February this year did the newly-inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto announce a switch to non-violent reforms in favour of social programmes.
Mexico also faces the issue of human rights violations, such as police brutality, torture and extrajudicial killings.

The most recent humanitarian problems involve the deaths and disappearances of journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists estimated that in 2012 alone 70 journalists were killed and 232 were imprisoned for matters related to organised crime.

Since then, Mexico has become a touchstone for films such as Traffic and Savages, as well as documentaries like Reportero. Representations of the country in the medium of film are often riddled with corruption, bloodbaths, bullet shells and widespread emigration.

On 31 January 2013 the state-owned Pemex (Mexican Petroleum) suffered an explosion in Mexico City where 37 people lost their lives and over 100 were injured. The news sparked much debate online as to whether the country is ‘safe’ and if there is more to the explosion than what has been revealed by the media.

Netizens are using social media to lift this murky veil. Twitter saw a new hash tag recently called #ForTheLoveOfMexico where people have been posting their thoughts on why they love the country and its forgotten beauty.

The Mexican Report, a blog focusing on the more positive news in the country has seen a steady rise in followers since its conception three years ago, proving that people are tired of being bombarded by distressing news.

Whether these attempts will help to improve how the country is perceived by the Western media is debatable. In 2012, a colourful documentary Hecho En Mexico was released, which featured the country’s rich culture and humanity. Sadly, it was criticised for supposedly skating over and trivialising its politics, even though its intentions of promoting its culture were already made clear.

It seems that changing the view the global media has set for Mexico over the past decade will be tough, but hopefully with time the same form of media that has portrayed one side of Mexico’s image would give its other, more humane side, the fair acknowledgment it deserves.


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December 2021
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