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“Lucy” is accused of profiting from reporters’ work

Posted on

May 25, 2013


Translated by un vato

SALTILLO, Coah. (apro).– The United States news portal Fronteras and a group of Mexican journalists, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, downplayed the work carried out by “Lucy”, the purported administrator of Blog del Narco who just last Thursday, the 16th, announced her departure from the country after the disappearance of one of her co-workers, a systems analyst.

In its opinion, the administrator of the popular site — which stopped working on May 1 after the arrest of Ines Coronel, the father in law of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman — has for three years been engaged in copying and pasting reporters’ or newspapers’ information without giving them their corresponding credit.

Even so, it says, even before she left the country, Lucy was portraying herself as “the only” person capable of publishing information about the violence in Mexico, when the only thing she does is to “pirate information” from reporters, electronic portals and newspapers.
Based on this, the U.S. news portal and reporters from the north (of Mexico) have no doubt that Lucy is profiting with information from real reporters who every day “risk their skins” to write their stories that, in addition, she presents as her own in her recently published book, “Morir por la Verdad” (To die for the truth).
Fronteras carried out an investigation on the notes published by Blog del Narco before it stopped working and came to this conclusion:
“A review of recent news stories by our team shows that the owners of Blog del Narco have published the same stories as Mexican journalists who the blog says it has had to replace.”
In its analysis, the U.S. news site asserts that the Blog reports exactly the same news as reported by Mexican journalists, but despite that, Lucy says in her book that “they (Blog del Narco) are the only ones who report the truth in Mexico.”
“The Blog del Narco is stealing the work of legitimate reporters who risk their lives to write their own stories. However, now the Blog del Narco sells itself as last vestige of honest journalism in the country,” according to Fronteras.
From its point of view, everything is the work of the publisher, Feral House, which published the book, “Morir por la Verdad”, where Lucy is portrayed as a heroic 20-year old who is fighting alone to denounce the narcos who are placing her life at risk, given that the rest of Mexico’s journalists have surrendered to their threats.

Feral House began to sell that story to several U.S. media to promote the book. In that campaign, Lucy declared to a station in Texas: “Journalism in Mexico died a long time ago.” And to the Al Jazeera Arabic television network, she said: “If I didn’t do it, nobody was going to do it.”

In fact, that propaganda, which was aimed at a foreign public, was taken up again by the British journal “The Guardian”, to whom Lucy claimed that the Blog del Narco “came in to fill the vacuum left by its intimidated journalist colleagues.”

It was precisely that British journal which published the news that Lucy decided to leave the country and take refuge in Spain, after a Blog del Narco systems analyst disappeared.

However, Lucy had already lied with respect to alleged threats made against her when she claimed that the Blog del Narco was mentioned in the “narcomantas” (cloth banners) that appeared in Nuevo Laredo after the murder of “La Nena de Nuevo Laredo” (Nuevo Laredo Babe) and two young people who were reporting the activities of Los Zetas on social networks.

Nowhere in any of the mantas that were hung that day was there any mention of Blog del Narco. Also, there is no evidence that any organized crime group has threatened its administrators. On the contrary, some cartels view it as a platform to send messages, because they are always sending it anonymous videos, contents of “narcomantas,” etc.

The alleged threats are substantiated only by Lucy’s words, a person who lies about essential matters, and are in contrast with the threats that organized crime sent against the “Valor por Tamaulipas” Facebook page.

In the case of Valor por Tamaulipas, there is not just the evidence of threats on a flyer that was distributed in Ciudad Victoria and other parts of the state. There is also the web page “Antivalor por Tamaulipas” where the narcos are trying to counter citizens’ reports that appear on the site they are trying to close down.

Organized crime groups offered 600,000 pesos for the head of the the Valor por Tamaulipas administrator because of the constant denunciations made by the residents themselves, identifying the areas where criminals are extorting, kidnapping or charging protection money.

Journalists from the northern part of the country, who asked not to be identified, also denounced the plagiarism of their stories on reports that appear in Blog del Narco without the signature or medium that produced it, which constitutes a crime.

Proceso confirmed that some of its reports on Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and other areas where organized crime groups predominate appeared on Blog del Narco without giving credit to the magazine.

There are also reports, including editorials, which were published in the newspapers Reforma, Excelsior or La Jornada, to mention just a few.

Among the journalists that condemn the Blog’s plagiarism is Temoris Geko, a Mexican war correspondent who recently covered the war in Libya.

“I have covered wars, revolutions and conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. But I have an enormous respect for my fellow journalists who cover organized crime and drug trafficking subjects in Mexico,” said Greko.

He says that he can go into a dangerous area and get out if things get too ugly. “My fellow journalists live in dangerous areas, their parents live there, their children go to school there, all that they have in their lives depends on what happens in those dangerous areas. And despite all that, the continue to perform their jobs.”

The Blog del Narco, he said, not only plagiarizes from these fellow journalists, but it also diminishes them, despises them, and what’s more, it says they do not even exist, that the aforementioned Blog by itself does the tasks that everybody else has abandoned. “And it says all this to earn money,” he concludes.

Last April 28, the journal Proceso, (No. 1904) published a report titled: “The Blog del Narco and the Twenty-Year Old Woman Who Runs It.”

From the underground, Lucy defends her work, talks about her fears and distances herself from any mafia and declares: One has to be objective even with cartels.

— Is it appropriate to become a forum for messages between cartels or a replicator or transmission drive for whatever drug traffickers want to disseminate? — asks reporter Homero Campa to the woman.

— I’ll answer you with another question: Is it appropriate for communications media to also exchange those messages for politicians? They don’t pay me, but they pay them. A politician pays them to denounce and counterattack another and tell him he’s a fool. “Is it ethical, then, for political parties to pay newspapers and radio stations to air a thousand spots that say: “Don’t vote for this politician because he’s a crook”? That’s immoral. Traditional communications media are receiving money when supposedly they have an obligation to report with objectivity.”

Lucy defends the type of information that the Blog del Narco disseminates. They are “real situations that are taking place,” she says. Furthermore, “we must be objective,” that is, publish without making any distinction between what one cartel or another says.

— If you publish a “narcomanta” from a cartel, do you have to publish (“narcomantas”) from all of them?

— Exactly. We have to be objective. That is, we have to be objective with the narcos, too.

Lucy came into the public arena on April 4, when the British Journal, The Guardian, revealed that the Blog del Narco is run from anonymity by a young Mexican woman, the author of the book “Morir Por la Verdad: Encubiertos dentro de la violenta guerra contra las drogas en Mexico” (To die for the truth: Undercover inside the violent war against drugs in Mexico)”.

“Who am I? I’m a twenty-year old woman, I live in northern Mexico, I’m a journalist, I’m a woman, single, I don’t have children and I love Mexico,” said the person in the Guardian interview, who also who used the name “Lucy.”

“I don’t think people would have imagined that a woman does this (…) It’s a hard blow for Mexican machismo and to the idea that women are weak, more delicate,” she added.

The Guardian pointed out that the Blog del Narco has become an “Internet sensation” that places its readers “in the front row” of the war against drugs that is being fought in Mexico. It held that it is mandatory reading for authorities, cartels and common citizens because it “uncovers, day after day, the terrible violence that is censored by principal communications media.”

On April 11, a copy of the book “Morir por la Verdad” arrived at the Proceso newsroom. The image of the wife of Beltran Leyva in captivity illustrates the cover of the book. A yellow ribbon, similar to those used by the police to cordon off a crime scene, warns: “Warning! Crime scene photos inside. Not suitable for minors.”

The 380-page book contains “edited and updated versions of reports” that appeared in the Blog del Narco from March 2, 2010, to February 25, 2011. It alternates these reports with photographs of people who have been executed, decapitated, dismembered, burned and cut to into pieces, and with videos of torture or interrogation of gunmen or police.

Along with the book, there was a letter from Lucy which advised that she would remain anonymous but that she would be available to give interviews.

Proceso interviewed her via Skype on Sunday (May) 14. She used an electronic voice distorter, and the screens of both the interviewer and interviewee remained blank.

During the interview, Lucy recounts that the Blog del Narco came out in March of 2010 in response to a campaign launched by Felipe Calderon’s government and traditional media to minimize violence that had exploded in several parts of the country.

“They said nothing was happening, that people were giving in to fear, that they were imagining things, that people were lying, that they were trying to attract attention. Obviously, that was outrageous, because they were not people who were trying to attract notice, they were victims. So then the blog was like an information window and a mechanism for people not to feel so alone,” she declares.

During the interview, Lucy is asked what are the criteria she has established to disseminate information and images: Does she add the information she receives to the blog, or does she report and conduct interviews? How can she tell whether the information she receives is true or false?

Lucy evades the questions. She maintains that, “because of safety concerns,” she will not discuss the blog’s “internal procedures.” However, she asserts that with the passage of time she has created a contacts list and a procedure for testing the information. She explains that this consists of comparing the new facts that she receives with previous incidents in her files; if they match or fit within the time frame, the information becomes credible for her.

In the introduction to the book, Lucy points out: “The large majority of the Mexican press turned their backs on us. Some journalists spread lies that organized crime groups put out the Blog del Narco; others said they were financing the site. We have never favored or opposed any criminal group. We have simply told the truth in the best way possible.”

— How do we know that you are really in charge of Blog del Narco? How do we know that behind the blog there isn’t somebody form a drug trafficking cartel?

— I don’t think that somebody from a criminal group has time to write a book or to give an interview to you and to other media. I don’t believe he would have time for a lot of things. They are very busy people — she answers.

Then she denies she in tied to drug trafficking cartels. “I’m telling you this calmly because I’m not worried. I respect the fact that you think that and everybody can believe whatever they want, but I’m unworried because I am not. I haven’t received one cent from the government or from anybody else.”

When the reporter insists, she responds: I don’t know what you want…To come to my House? To meet my family? I’m not going to do that. That is, it’s your problem whether you believe I’m the person who administers the blog; that’s not my problem…”

— What you’re saying is that we have to trust your word?

— I trust people’s words a lot; for me it is more valuable than money (…)

— Is it ethical and journalistically valid to pass on rumors from anonymous sources?

— Sources are sources. Maybe for you they are rumors, but when we put out some information, we have other facts that validate it.

More than twenty days after that interview, Lucy announced that she was leaving the country out of fear she would be murdered.


About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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