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Reports on violence in Mexico need balance

14/02/2012
Reports on violence in Mexico need balance

Reports on violence in Mexico need balance Edmonton Journal As one of the thousands of Canadians who have chosen to travel to Mexico on short vacations or have invested in homes in Mexico, I feel compelled to express my thoughts on the responsibility of the news media to provide balance in their stories.The recent tragedy of what happened to Calgarian Sheila Nabb in Mazatlan is newsworthy, but the story was not about "Is Mazatlan safe?"An event like this happens in Canadian cities every day and if the media chose to focus on any one of those stories the way they have with Mazatlan, Canadians would be afraid to visit any city in Canada.Why is an assault or death of a Canadian in a foreign country more newsworthy than at home, and why is it so easy for the media to want to create this fear of travel to Mexico?I did not see one TV network inter-view any Canadians or Americans who live in Mazatlan to give their opinion on "Is Mazatlan safe?" For those of us who do live and holiday here, we believe that we are as safe as we would be in my hometown of Edmonton, which was the murder capital of Canada in 2011.Just as it is back home, if you are not involved in the drug trade or falling down drunk in the bars at 3 a.m. here, you are not at risk.We take the local transit system at night from the old part of Mazatlan feeling completely safe.We frequent local Mexican restaurants and are welcomed by the most hospitable and kind people you would meet anywhere in the world.Unbalanced reporting has an immediate and detrimental effect on hard-working Mexicans who truly embrace tourism and who often invite us into their homes to share their hospitality.Unfortunately, I have a feeling the true story of being safe in Mexico will never be told because it is not like the visceral-fear stories that seem to bind viewers to the 10 p.m. news.There are thousands of Canadians who would love to tell you their stories of feeling safe in Mexico. I am one of them. And no, I do not work for the tourist board.Blain Gowing, Mazatlan, Mexico© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

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