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Mexican feminist journalists in CIMAC take on the toughest reporting

cbyerlys Icon Posted by Carolyn Byerly

October 18th, 2013

I’m still buzzing from the CIMAC gathering of feminist journalists in Mérida, Mexico, Oct 10-12. Some 200 women doing frontline reporting on government and police corruption, murder and other gender violence, and other issues in women’s marginalization participated.

A panel on violence against women journalists was the most emotional. Those who risk exposing corrupt officials, narco-trafficking and police brutality are threatened and attacked. For example, Yunuhen Rangel and others from CIMAC recounted in detail how they were affected when CIMAC offices were broken into twice in recent years and files stolen and damaged.

Among the stories that Mexican feminist journalists have tackled is official involvement in the murder and disappearance of nearly 400 young women in the greater Juarez area since 1993. US feminist groups like National Organization for Women have also supported the campaign by Mexican women to investigate and end the violence.
CIMAC stands for “Comunicación e Información de la Mujer” (Women’s Communication and Information). CIMAC’s formation was a response to women’s systematic exclusion from mainstream news.

Formed by Mexican women journalists in 1988, the group’s members are unabashedly feminist and committed “to the Mexican women’s movement and its relentless struggle for women’s rights.” The group, presently headed by Lucía Lagunes, advocates the inclusion of women’s perspectives in the news. Over the years, CIMAC’s membership has expanded to include feminist journalists from other Latin American countries and elsewhere.

Among the latter is Jenny Ronngren, a journalist for the Swedish feminist agency Feministiskt Perspektiv, who told me she was so enlivened by CIMAC’s work that she tried to start a chapter in Sweden. The language barrier (all Spanish) meant that wasn’t feasible.

Sessions at the conference also covered labor conditions of women journalists, digital security, effective feminist networking, femicide in Mexico, codes of ethics, and gender perspectives in reporting.
My part in the event was to share the research contained in my forthcoming book, the Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Journalism in a noon keynote.

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