Raul Olmos

Statement Raul Olmos

I’m a Mexican investigative journalist working as one of seven journalists in the media unit of the NGO “Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity”. The goal of this unit is to expose and make public cases of corruption within the government and the business sector in Mexico. The organization has been exposed to acts of intimidation from the Mexican government such as espionage, threats and tax inspections.

During the last two years, I have primarily worked on three subjects: organized crime, high-level corruption within the government and surveillance. For example, “la negra historia de Odebrecht” shows the involvement of three former Mexican presidents in the network of corruption built up by the Brazilian contractor Odebrecht throughout Latin America. Another recent story was “la trama del espionaje Pegasus” revealing that the Mexican government payed 32 million dollars to a letterbox company for an Israeli malware that is commonly known as ‘Pegasus’. The trojan was used to spy on journalists and human rights defenders.

These subjects are extremely sensitive in Mexico. My coverage put me in danger – as well as my sources. I have been working with sources within the government which provided me access to documents. That allowed me to puzzle out the details of my stories. However, I’m working more and more together with journalists all over the world. The topics we are mostly covering have an international impact. For example, the Odebrecht investigation was realized together with journalists from ten different countries.

For all our investigations, we have been using encrypted e-mails and have been using code words when talking by phone. However, the confidentiality of digital communication is essential for our work. Without that, sources and colleagues do not trust us. Therefore I’m very worried about global surveillance and support the project against the BND law. Journalists need to have the right to secret communication – doesn’t matter which nationality they have and where they are based. Without that, investigative journalism is nearly impossible today.