Fighting the drug war has come at a huge cost for Mexico, mostly in lives lost. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have died as a result of the clamp down on drug cartels that started under former President Felipe Calderon back in 2006. A number of the drug war-related murders include journalists who dared to investigate and report on the cartels.
Reportero follows Sergio Haro, a veteran photojournalist for Zeta, a Tijuana-based weekly newspaper. Even in the face of constant death threats, Zeta’s reporters refuse to censor themselves and routinely publish the names and photos of narco traffickers and corrupt politicians. At the heart of the film is Haro’s daily life as a journalist.
The documentary opens with Haro going about his day, telling stories about the perils of journalism in Mexico as he drives to take pictures of grisly crime scenes. He then recounts how a pair of Zeta’s staff reporters were gunned down by hired hit men on two separate occasions. His pain and anger are palpable when it is revealed that the gunmen were never brought to justice. He sometimes questions himself — the danger, the threats to his life — is journalism really worth dying for? His devotion to the craft is unshakeable. Reportero succeeds at painting a powerful portrait of a man committed to social justice and exposing the truth, no matter the cost.
Director: Bernardo Ruiz
Country: Mexico, USA
Language: Spanish (with English subtitles)
Where To Watch: Stream it for free on PBS.org.
Update 8/4/2015: Photojournalist Ruben Espinosa’s murder marks the seventh killing of a journalist in Mexico in 2015. In solidarity with the slain journalist, PBS has made Reportero available globally for streaming through October 2, 2015.