Nightly News | September 21, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: It has happened again. Just south of the US border in the fierce fight between the drug cartels and the Mexican government , another journalist has been killed, sending a chilling message about how journalists cover the dangerous and violent war on drugs . NBC 's Mark Potter 's been reporting exclusive on the war next door to the US. He has more tonight on this latest round in a deadly campaign of intimidation.
MARK POTTER reporting: At a dusty funeral over the weekend in Juarez , Mexico , local journalists mourn the loss of one of their own, an intern at the city's newspaper El Diario . Twenty-one -year-old Luis Carlos Santiago , a budding photographer, was shot and killed in his car outside a busy shopping center in broad daylight last week. Another intern was also shot but survived the attack. Colleagues grieved at the crime scene. The gunman escaped. Juarez , Mexico , is now considered the most dangerous city in the world. A vicious war there between drug cartels , gangs and the police left 2800 people dead last year, and 2200 more so far this year. In response, the newspaper published a front page editorial addressing the drug traffickers directly. It read, "You are at present the de facto authorities in this city. We ask you to explain what you want from us and what we should try to publish or not publish, so we know what to expect." A Mexican government spokesman condemned the newspaper, saying no one should negotiate with criminals. The acting newspaper editor shot back, saying, "If the authorities cannot guarantee citizens the right to be informed, then we want to know who can?"
Mr. MIKE O'CONNOR (Committee to Protect Journalists): In Mexico , the government cannot, will not, does not protect journalists.
POTTER: And there are other dangers. When a car bomb went off in Juarez earlier this year, the photographer who shot it was badly injured. By exploding that car bomb here at this intersection in Juarez , the traffickers ratcheted up the drug war to a new level of violence, and authorities fear that violence will escalate and spread. And as that happens, more and more Mexican journalists are under siege. Mark