Mexican bloggers' 'Twitter Manifesto' calls for protection from drug cartel violence
But the Mexican bloggers' demands in the manifesto – many beyond the power of the Mexican government to enforce – highlight the vulnerability of social media users to drug cartel violence.
A team of social media users in Mexico have written a "Twitter Manifesto" in reaction to the latest killing of an alleged online chat forum administrator. Some of their demands are untenable, raising questions about what actions bloggers can really take to protect themselves.Skip to next paragraph
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Speaking in the name of bloggers and Twitter users in violence-ridden states like Tamaulipas, the manifesto (read full pdf version here; Spanish pdf version here) gives voice to the apprehension and anger circulating through some online media networks in Mexico.
The criminal groups attempt to restrain our voice... to kidnap us and carry out criminal atrocities or to make direct threats against our companions. This constitutes a flagrant threat against the only freedom left to us, now that the local, state and federal governments are indifferent to our demands, and without even bothering to verify they ignore the facts that we report on our social networks. In summary, we have been abandoned to our fate in this unequal fight of free citizens against the drug traffickers.
The declaration comes a day after a decapitated man was found alongside a sign identifying him with the online alias "Rascatripas." It was the fourth such killing this year in Nuevo Laredo.
"This is what happened to me for failing to understand I should not report things on social media websites," the sign read, before making reference to the woman killed last September for activity on the Internet forum Nuevo Laredo En Vivo.
Since then there has been no official confirmation on the body's identity, although, according to Vanguardia, users of the chat forum have confirmed a user known as "Rascatripas" was killed. His last comment, registered two days before the decapitated body was found, described a local highway as unsafe "all the time," according to the report.
As happened with the September killing of the forum administrator "La Nena de Laredo," users at Nuevo Laredo En Vivo pledged to continue their online activity following Rascatripas' apparent death. On Wednesday, one user warned against using cell phones on the street: "These ZZZZ's think you're talking to the army and will pick you up. Be careful."
The ZZZZ is a reference to the Zetas criminal gang. The Zetas have been blamed for all the violence against social media anti-crime forum administrators and users.
The Zetas also squared off in recent weeks with members of the online hack-activist group Anonymous. Anonymous members posted a video threatening the Zetas with retribution if they did not release a kidnapped member of their group. The member was reportedly released and Anonymous backed away from its threat.
Within the buzzing community of social media users along the Mexico-U.S. border, comes the "Twitter Manifesto." But when the document asks the government to better guarantee "cybersecurity" and "freedom of speech" online, it only highlights the difficulty of enforcing these requests.