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Ten years ago today, Indymedia reporter Brad Will was killed while filming teacher protests in Oaxaca, Mexico. His case remains unsolved, despite calls for an investigation by members of Congress, and even a temporary delay in U.S. aid.
But there have been some recent developments.
I knew Brad as an impassioned and committed reporter of anti-globalization protests. The last time I saw him was in Cancun in 2003 at the independent media convergence outside the WTO meetings and his death is chronicled in a book that I co-edited: Rebel Reporting: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists.
On May 23, 2012, Lenin Emilio Osorio Ortega was arrested for Will's murder. Osorio maintains his innocence, claiming that testimony of witnesses was false and compelled under threats from Mexican authorities. However, on October 3 of this year, a second judge reaffirmed the determination of the original court, continuing Osorio’s detention and stating that if found guilty, he would serve thirty-five years in prison.
In October 2014, the teachers of Section 22, the independent union in southern Mexico created a memorial for Will. This week, commemorations are taking place in New York, and as far away as Freiburg, Germany where Will continues to be celebrated as an independent media activist.
Brad Will was not alone. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Since 2000, more than 100 media workers have been killed or disappeared, according to the Mexican “Freedom of Expression” website. Most of these crimes have remained unsolved, but the Committee to Protect Journalists say that in at least thirty-seven cases, the confirmed motives are related to their work as journalists.
Norman Stockwell is publisher of The Progressive.