The Texas Observer reported last week on Mexico’s Blog Del Narco, saying it fills the void of journalists unable to report on the daily horrors of violence in Mexico. Launched in March 2010, Blog Del Narco documents the violence with gory videos, photos, and articles uploaded anonymously to protect its submitters. The Texas Observer reports that within months, the site gained 3 million visitors a month.
Yet the Observer, in partnership with The Guardian, admits “it was unclear whether the stories were ripped from other websites or were original reporting. And it seemed like no moderator existed.”
Now Fronteras Desk, a multimedia platform reporting on the U.S. southwest and along the US-Mexico border, suggests Blog Del Narco has plagiarized from news publications in Mexico. In a close examination, Fronteras’ reporter Michel Marizco shows Blog Del Narco has used some articles word-for-word from several major newspapers in Mexico.
Last week the blog’s creator was revealed in an interview with The Guardian’s Rory Carroll in conjunction with the release of the book, Dying for the Truth: Undercover Inside Mexico’s Violent Drug War which details the violence in Mexico from 2010 and 2011. Revealed to be a woman in her 20s, “Lucy” said, “I did the book to show what was happening. When I finished, I was able to breathe, because I had worried about being killed before finishing. But the book is there, it’s there on paper, a testament to what we have suffered in Mexico in these years of war.”
There is no way of knowing Lucy is real, and all of the coverage on her doesn’t hide the fact that at least some of Blog Del Narco’s content is copied.
“Blog Del Narco reports on the exact same stories the Mexican journalists report on. Yet the blog, and now a new book written by the blog owners, claims they are the only ones reporting the truth in Mexico,” said Marizco.
Fronteras contacted Adam Parfrey, publisher of the new book, to question the book’s authenticity. Parfrey answered, “Your intentions here are obvious and shameful. I won’t further respond to such garbage.” Parfrey later responded to plagiarism claims on the publishing site, saying that the book is written solely by Blog Del Narco.
Fronteras also contacted Mexican reporter Paco Zorroza of La Prensa, whose article appeared word-for-word on the blog without authorization. Zorroza told Fronteras that he never made an agreement with Blog Del Narco to use his stories.
Neither The Guardian nor The Texas Observer responded to a request to comment.
Read more about press violence in Mexico here