National Press Club

Institute plans "El Paso" screening, panel on journalists fleeing violence, Sept. 11

September 1, 2017 | By Julie Schoo |

The National Press Club's Journalism Institute plans to host a screening of Everardo González' film "El Paso" and a short panel discussion on the dangers Mexico's journalists still face, and their difficulties in receiving asylum in the U.S.

The event is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Club's Murrow Room. The event is free but reservations are necessary; tickets can be reserved here.

"El Paso" tells the story of journalists fleeing their home country of Mexico to seek safe haven in the United States.

González, an award-winning documentarian, sheds light on the journalists who risk their lives covering the Mexican drug trade. The film tells the story of two journalists: Alejandro Hernández Pacheco, a Televisa cameraman from Torreón, Mexico, who was kidnapped after filming a report in a local prison, and Ricardo Chávez Aldana, a Juárez radio personality who began to use his program to speak openly about the individuals involved in a bloody turf war. Both struggle to adapt to a new life after seeking asylum in the U.S. See the trailer of "El Paso" here.

Mexico is the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere. More than 100 journalists have been killed there since 2000, and 20 have disappeared. So far this year, at least 10 journalists have been killed, two of whom were covered by Mexico's protection mechanisms. The country is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

The panel discussion features Mexican journalist Martin Mendez Pineda, and Margaux Ewen, advocacy and communications director for the North America office of Reporters Without Borders, and moderated by John M. Donnelly, award-winning journalist working for CQ Roll Call and chairman of the National Press Club’s press freedom team.

Mendez Pineda, a former reporter for the Guerrero-based Novedades Acapulco newspaper, sought asylum in the U.S. earlier this year after receiving multiple death threats in Mexico. He was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas, for more than three months before withdrawing his asylum request and returning home, despite the threats he still faces.