Altar in memory of the lynching victims. Altar in memory of the victims.

#SoyEncuestador is response to lynchings

Polling firms unite to support victims' families, protect pollsters

The gruesome events in Ajalpan, Puebla, in which two pollsters were brutally lynched in the town’s main square on October 19, were greeted with widespread outrage as media outlets reported the details of their deaths.

But no group received the news with more concern than other pollsters.

Brothers Rey David and Abraham Copado Molina were conducting a study on transgenic maize and tortillas and wore identification tags. Despite that, and after social media-induced mass hysteria, the brothers were mistaken for kidnappers, arrested and then beaten and burned steps from the town’s zócalo.

By October 22, about 16 polling companies and organizations had organized a movement dubbed #SoyEncuestador (I am a pollster).

“We began shaping our campaign a few days after the lynchings in Ajalpan, getting our message out through social media,” said Luis Santamaría, a member of the movement.

The main purpose of #SoyEncuestador, he explained, “is to help and support the Copado Molina family, to raise our voice demanding justice for the brothers. At the same time, we want to raise society’s awareness with regard to our job as field surveyors.”

The nascent organization had planned to perform a public demonstration on October 31, but decided to postpone it after the flow of support for their cause increased and more organizations decided to join in.

“Several market research companies have been joining our call for justice, including those united in the Mexican Association of Market and Opinion Intelligence Agencies (AMAI). Individuals, merchandisers, project leaders, all have shown their support by joining us,” said Santamaría.

#SoyEncuestador will march on November 7 from the Insurgentes Roundabout to the zócalo in Mexico City. The organizers are selling 35-pesos shirts as a means to raise funds for the family of the victims.

Another of the movement’s goals is to raise awareness, informing people that being called on by a pollster doesn’t mean they have to answer the questions.

Further ahead, the social campaign hopes to work along authorities in the creation of strategies that would allow pollsters to work in a safer environment, as the events of October 19 weren’t the first recorded aggressive actions against professional surveyors.

In March, two pollsters conducting the 2015 inter-census survey of the national statistics institute, INEGI, were murdered in Urique, Chihuahua.

In July 2011, nine pollsters hired by polling companies Mitofsky and Parametría were kidnapped in Apatzingán. They were released unharmed a few days later.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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