This past year, being a reporter was the most dangerous profession in my country, Mexico. Reporters who spoke up about real issues and used the media to reveal the truth about politicians, leaders, and current situations were suddenly missing, and then found dead days later, with no sign of the culprit.
Every day adults tell us, teenagers, to make up our minds, have an opinion, and say it out loud, but how can we do this if we are witness to the death and mistreatment of these reporters? The issue here is that sometimes we believe we have total freedom, since it says so in the Mexican Constitution. Do we really? In my country, many people have different ideas than the ones that are imposed to us, and many would like to express how they truly think and feel about current situations, but most of them are afraid that something might happen to them as a result.
We limit ourselves to complain with only our friends, be silently unsatisfied with our government, and like and share a post or two. We know that if we express our thoughts or if we are part of a protest, even if it’s a peaceful one, we might be harmed if it bothers someone in a high-ranking position. Take for example the Tlatelolco massacre in 68’, where hundreds of students were killed, and other hundreds were injured because they were peacefully protesting against the current government (Díaz Ordaz 64-70). More recently in 2014, 43 college students from Ayotzinapa chose to manifest against a local government situation, and they suddenly disappeared. The government officials blamed the drug cartels, but we all know that the truth is another. We don’t even need to talk about protests. Even newspapers are manipulated so that specific opinions are never showed to the public.
Maybe you have heard about these or other situations in my country that show we are limited when talking about freedom of expression. Maybe this happens too in your own country, and you know what I’m talking about when I say I don’t feel completely free to have an opinion and to share it.
Freedom of expression is extremely important, and in some places, underrated. It is a human right that is essential for community growth and a nation’s development. I know there are places where this right is respected, but I also know that my country is one of many where it is not. Freedom of expression must be fought for if we truly want to create a better world.
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