Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reynosa filling in MSM gaps in drug-violence coverage via Twitter

Here's the first example I've seen of local government in a violence-racked Mexican border town using social networking to fill in gaps in media coverage. According to the Houston Chronicle ("Drug-fueled triangle of death engulfs Rio Grande region," April 12):

With the traditional media gagged by gangster threats and officials' desire to downplay events, common citizens have largely taken to reporting on the violence on their own though You Tube, Twitter and blog postings.

State and local officials first blamed such “social networks” for fueling unfounded fear.

But Reynosa officials started twittering in late February about gunbattles and other “risky situations.” And the official Web site of Tamaulipas state, of which Reynosa is the largest city, has begun carrying news about such clashes.

“It could be a gunshot, it could be a grenade, it could be a threat,” Triana, who directs Reynosa's Twitter efforts, said of what merits a tweeted alarm. “We are just trying to advise people so they don't run risks.”

UPDATE: OTOH, maybe instead they'll go in the opposite direction. See this item from Time magazine discussing a proposed crackdown on Twitter and Facebook because:

authorities, already peeved that ordinary citizens have been using Twitter to alert each other to the locations of drunk-driving, breathalyzer checkpoints via @antiaa_df, are now furious that drug dealers are using similar Twitter accounts to circumvent dragnets and to communicate with each other.

See related Grits posts:

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