Enforced Disappearance: Digital Art and Journalism Break the Silence | Latin America | DW

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“Whoever dies a violent death here is forgotten,” Mexican journalist Patricia Mayorga writes of Ciudad Juarez, a town close at the Mexico-United States border who has become known as theplace of Dappeared wpresage’. Since the beginning of the pandemic, violence the has spiral: In the downtown Region only59 people have has been kill.

Mayorga learned this in the the pandemic shadowthen-called phantom hotels were return at life. Already a decade from, the stage had has been Position for sexual exploitationHuman traffic and femicide before the smuggling rings responsible for the crimes were apprehended. Hundreds of Young women vanishared then and were That is found dead Where not found at all. Since the hotels reopened, by Mayorga sources report mistrustful occurrences and cry in the night. People the to fear this the story is repeat himself.

The new normal transform organized crime

Anyone better get off in Ciudad from Juarez bleak ambience can do this via the 3D website of the ‘Disappearance in the pandemic’ project. Mayorga’s report is one of four reports from the Técnicas Rudas research project, supported by the DW Akademie. The stories illustrate how Mexico’s drug trade and black market have profited from the pandemic, which has also worsened the country’s already precarious economic situation. They also show how organized crime has developed new markets, such as illegal timber from the state of Chihuahua, where militants from indigenous areas have simply disappeared without a trace.

Fear of organized crime associated with illegal logging is forcing entire families in Guadalupe to relocate to other communities in Mexico

The research team further points to the disproportionately high number of missing along one of the country’s most important trade routes, in the state of Tamaulipas, where last year in the section between Monterey and Nuevo Laredo , more than 75 people were reported missing. And they clearly indicate that organized crime has spread online. For example, in social networks that attract young people, promising job offers are posted but all of them lead to forced labor.

Already at the start of the pandemic, there were multiple predictions that border closures and lockdowns would impact how organized crime networks conduct their business. The Techniques Ruda The team also suspected that it would affect violent disappearances. But working on the basis of guesswork about how criminal organizations would change the way they operate proved difficult, with the challenge being that potential sources were afraid to speak up. This is too dangerouss at report on this. And since many media companies don’t law independent of Politics interests, the are blind tasks built in covering this storethat’s to say. The main stream media barely report on forced disappearanceand when they or they do, they or they further away stigmatize the victims with their reports. Both the media and Politics criminalization of the victims reinforces the the silence surroundings these crimes, Explain Philippa Williams of Techniques Ruda, coordinator of the project ‘Disappearance in the pandemic’.

An alliance break the silence

Enforceded disappearance in Mexico barely register with the public. “If the story is ’25 people were shot in a bar,’ there’s a public interest,” Williams says. “But less casualties than that doesn’t bother the Mexicans, they’ve become jaded with it all.”

His A team of reporters and artists asks a fundamental question: how has the pandemic affected enforced disappearances among Mexican citizens? In this, they are transforming interactive investigative journalism, into the digital sphere of life, in hopes of advancing this crime against humanity in the public consciousness.

The the aim is to contribute to public discourse and the development of free opinions within Mexican society, to support the local partner of DW Akademie Techniques Ruda at Pause the the silence surroundings violent disappearance using innovative means.

UN rreport: forced fighting disappearance with youtransparency

On a average day in Mexico, 28 people are forcibly and violently abducted. A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (CED) documented these numbers amid Mexico’s worsening human rights crisis. The report specifically identifies organized crime, but also names federal, state and local authorities as responsible for these crimes through complicity, tolerance or leniency. Some 98% of all crimes in Mexico go unprosecuted, according to the UN report which describes this as a structural problem with a passive justice system and a chronic lack of resolution.

the UN report recommends, among other things, making enforced disappearances visible in order to better inform the public about these crimes – and thus better combat them.

Screenshot Disappear in Pandemic

Screenshot of the Disappearance in the Pandemic project website

arts and journalism becomes symbiotic

Techniques Ruda to research crew had precisely this objective: at galvanize with a New and Creative approach and Thus raise sensitization. The crew highlighted the running new on organized crimes, Analyzing social networks and Speaking with on 30 Nope-governmental organizations, survivor groups and experts transaction with Security problems. They discovered a recurrent pattern and detailsand colonized on Next four clues. Experimented journalists who to know the local milletIeyou good conducted to research below strict Security measuresaccompanied by artists.

“This cooperating with artists gives journalists new options for conveying the urgency of their research findings,” says Williams. Using Patricia Mayorga’s research material, a song, podcast and video were created along with 3D artwork that can be viewed in a virtual space in Ciudad Juarez. on the project’s website Visitors find themselves in the city center of Ciudad Juarez, they hear the sounds of the market and see the posters of missing persons.

Digital art makes journalistic research tangible and changes the role of the public: instead of consuming content, they are called upon to interact. This change in perspective results from a change in format: from a traditional journalistic format to a varied format that can touch the whole spectrum of humanity.

“The the stories we deal with every day are very painful. It means a lot to me that some wisdom and beauty can come out of it all,” says journalist Mayorga.

DW Academy worked with in Mexico since early 2020. The independent local organization supports the victims of forced vanisharance in Mexico through strategic to research and forming partnerships. DW of the Academy objective is at Craft Human rights the subjects After visible at the general public. The project Is finance by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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