Epica Awarded Campaign Generates Judicial Investigation Of Murdered Journalists In Mexico

MEXICO - Four murdered journalists made their voices heard again through their Twitter accounts. Now the campaign is reaping results.

The campaign developed by Publicis México, which won Gold and Bronze in the Epica Awards, proves that advertising can influence justice. In addition to keeping the voice of journalists such as Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez alive, it forced the opening of a judicial investigation into their deaths.

The Civic Proposal organization agreed with Twitter Mexico to reactivate the accounts of four murdered journalists with the aim of paying tribute to them for their commitment to reporting truthfully, despite the threats against them. Journalists describe what happened at the time of their deaths through tweets such as that of José Armando “El Choco” Rodríguez: “On the morning of November 13, 2008 I was about to take my daughter to her school in Ciudad Juárez. I boarded my car and while I sat behind the wheel, a man shot me in the head. I am another of the 104 journalists killed in Mexico who, in spite of everything, #SeguimosHablando” (#StillSpeakingUp).

Publicis Mexico showed that violence against journalists is not only about their deaths, but the ravages caused to their families. “We gave ourselves the task of investigating what the work, life, language of the four journalists was like, in order to give them a voice that represented the way each one spoke in reality,” said the spokesman for the agency.

At the beginning of the operation, the Civic Proposal communication coordinator, Mauricio Pérez, assured that “they will publish as if they were with us”. And indeed for Twitter users it is as if journalists were still alive and tweeting.

The campaign attracted global attention, forming a virtual community that supports the families of journalists. #SeguimosHablando had such an impact that it was awarded twice at the Epica Awards, winning a Gold in the Social Networks category and a Bronze in Public Relations, international awards unique in the history of Mexico. “It was the most awarded campaign presented by Latin America. Clearly, the jury, composed of the editors and journalists of leading publications around the globe, empathized with the overwhelming and emotional message of the advertising campaign,” said Matías Stetson, representative of the Epica awards in the region.

Over time, through the hashtag #SeguimosHablando, not only the work of journalists commemorated by the campaign was shared, but also the beginning and subsequent progress of a legal action against those involved in the crimes. Although the trials have been postponed on several occasions, pressure is maintained via social networks and Civic Proposal initiatives.

This is evidenced in tweets such as the one published in the Miroslava Brech account: “Today it is confirmed that next February 17 the trial will begin against one of the accused; there are still partners pending trial.”

The above is the result of a collaboration between the organization and the users of social networks, who express outrage that journalists are victims of violence which seeks to hide the truth of events linked to corruption, drug trafficking and other issues.

Another of the murdered journalists is Javier Valdez, who “retweeted” the following: “One year after presenting formal accusations for the murder of the journalist #JavierValdez, the interim hearing of the criminal proceedings has been suspended 4 times. How long before they set a date?”

In this way the #SeguimosHablando campaign has targeted those who wanted to silence journalists for carrying out their work, as well as enabling a safer environment for their colleagues and ensuring their profession is governed by freedom of expression and not fear. In addition, the initiative is an example for the world, especially in those countries where journalists are targets. As José Armando “El Choco” Rodriguez tweeted: “One day there were threats to journalists, then to newsrooms, and in the end the murders came. With fear and death, it changed the whole way of doing journalism. We knew how difficult it was to exercise freedom of expression and yet we continued speaking.”