Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and Tijuana, the sunny and friendly Pacific Coast border city that has been marred by drug cartel violence, has been a punishing home for the magazine Zeta. Two of its journalists have been slain while Zeta’s founder survived a 1997 assassination attempt by the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Since then, he has run the paper with around-the-clock bodyguards until his death from cancer in 2006. Now Navarro is an heir to this perilous legacy but continues to work despite the threats against her life.
According to the committee to protect journalists, at least forty have been killed or have disappeared since Calderon took office in December 2006 and launched an offensive against Mexican cartels. Navarro stated that, “in Mexico the crimes against journalists are never solved. The special prosecutor’s office for crimes against journalists keeps saying, ‘It wasn’t because of their work as journalists.’ It’s terrible. What is the message? That in Mexico you can assassinate a journalist and not go to jail.”
The International Women’s Media Foundation recently gave Navarro its “Courage in Journalism Award” because “she has refused to remain silent, despite repeated warnings that she is being targeted by drug cartels – and for being a genuinely independent journalist, in very difficult circumstances.” Navarro criticized the current Mexican administration in her assertion that, “president Calderon will go down in history,” not just for the thousands dead in the drug war, “but because this will be the [presidency] in which the most journalists were assassinated.”