Ana Elizabeth García will present the “who’s who of lies” in the morning. Special
My profession faces a growing campaign of stigmatization.
“Who does not tolerate slander that is dedicated to something else,” used to say Tomás Rojo Valencia, defender of the rights and freedoms of the Yaqui peoples. However, this time it is not just about isolated slander, attacks or disqualification. We are facing a systematic and deliberate campaign whose main purpose is to achieve political control of a certain group of people.
The worst thing is that the campaign launched by the ruling majority against the reputation and dignity of the people who are dedicated to the defense of human rights and journalism already found, among a significant nucleus of the population, a body in which to reproduce .
There is no comment, text, opinion or investigation that is published these days by a person dedicated to these trades who does not awaken on social networks and also from the pulpit of power a barrage of verbal weapons to dismiss not so much what is said, but who does it say it to: chayotero, liar, sold out, traitor, stateless, slanderer, privileged, corrupt, neoliberal, conservative or miserable are just some of the terms that, practically automatically, those of us who criticize or denounce power deserve.
It is about prejudices, stereotypes and topics that do not distinguish between individuals. The first premise of any stigmatization campaign presumes that all people linked to the same identity, or to the same social group, deserve to be treated with similar rudeness.
In effect, stigmatization is an ideology directed against a group and its success is measured by the capacity it has to intimidate, individually, the subjects that make up that entity.
This expression of the philosophy of discarding uses negative connotations randomly selected to devalue any individual who may be perceived by the rest of society as belonging to the stigmatized group.
The origin of the term “stigma” comes from ancient Greece and had, since then, the objective of marking certain people – slaves, foreigners, women – to subdue them through repeated humiliation.
The routine attacks of power against the press and the defense of human rights have never been intended to provide a counterweight to public opinion, nor to expand the information, nor to distinguish who is who, among the individuals who perform these tasks in a professional manner.
In a country with such well-established antidemocratic drives as Mexico, the powerful do not really require much effort to balance the balance of information and criticism.
We are in truth before an act of power that deliberately seeks to present these offices as “dangerous,” due to an alleged disruptive potential in the face of the political project that is believed to be morally superior.
Journalists and defenders are represented as a social poison that demands purification. The concept of social poison works effectively when it manages to deliver massive rejection against the stigmatized group, that is, when its members become as invisible as inaudible.
The promoters of these campaigns always find legal, social, natural, moral or ethical reasons to destroy the honor, dignity and reputation of the people belonging to the attacked group.
After stigmatization usually comes exclusion, isolation and ultimately extermination.
I could not affirm that this Mexican campaign is going to go that far, but neither would I have elements to deny the possibility.
The harshness and fury with which the dominant group has been attacking journalists and human rights defenders does not seem to be going to stop with a reversal order in the mouth of its original provocateurs.
Once the discrediting campaign is launched, the fate of stigmatized groups becomes as dangerous as it is uncertain.
Stigma also knows no boundaries when it marks its recipients. It would be wrong to assume that this campaign affects only the public sphere because it also enters the house, sneaks into the immediate environment, breaks the locks of privacy.
Faced with the campaign of discredit, the distance between the members of the plagued community also grows, mainly because of the fear of being identified as the next direct victim of arbitrariness. Therefore, it is not usually true that the stigmatized group reacts by cohesion.
Among the first cracks in the ground that stigmatized groups tread is work. Who would want to hire a demerited subject, or more precisely, who would dare to challenge by keeping a discarded employee from the rostrum of power?
Media companies, the main employer of journalists, are aware of the speed with which this stigmatization campaign can infect them with equal or worse discredit. And, faced with the decision to save the business or to protect a stigmatized individual, very few tend to make the first choice.
A stigmatization campaign is confirmed by the disproportion with which power operates against a human group: anything goes when it comes to reducing freedom so that no one hinders, prevents, limits or derails the decisions of the dominant establishment.
There are thousands of stigmatized groups throughout human history: gypsies, Armenians, Jews, homosexuals, women, older adults, religious minorities and a long etcetera that have also included groups discarded based on their work identity. Things by name: from the majority power, Mexico is experiencing an increasingly risky stigmatization campaign for those of us who are dedicated to journalism and the defense of human rights.