Marco Lara Klahr

Ashoka Fellow
Mexico,
Fellow Since 2014
Programa de Medios y Acceso a la Información

Citation

This profile was prepared when Marco Lara Klahr was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Marco Lara, a judicial reporter for 33 years, is changing the way all stakeholders discuss and report on crime in Mexico. His goal is stopping widespread “media trials” and decreasing media corruption in order to protect the basic rights of victims and those suspected of a crime. Media has historically served as a veil to cover the inefficiencies of the judicial system in Mexico, but Marco sees that it could instead function as a democratic check over political powers, elevating the quality of democracy in Mexico. To shift this paradigm, Marco is taking a multi-pronged approach: training journalists and other communicators as agents of social change; setting new standards for talking about crime; working with the government to ensure that corresponding legislation is put in place and implemented; and educating the public so that they can demand accountability.

At the core of Marco´s model is intensive work towards the professionalization of journalists and other communicators, in which Marco leverages his own experience in the field to find the right incentives for these actors to get involved. Another innovative component of Marco’s model is the creation of new regulation and communication policies around crime and victims of crime, as well as the revision of existing political and judicial communication policies, in order to ensure principles of rights, legality, transparency, and accountability. Marco is reversing the accusatory model of talking about crime, victims, and perpetrators, to instead protect victims and the accused from being publicly shamed.

While changing the way that journalists and other officials inform the public about crime, Marco and his team are simultaneously shaping a public that is critical of information they receive, urging society to question the public display of victims and the accused. More savvy consumers of information have the capacity to serve as a democratic counterweight to the news industry and public institutions.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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