A newspaper in western Mexico that was investigating links between “El Chapo” Guzman and the security forces has reported being attacked by police, in a reminder that criminal groups are not the only source of anti-media aggression.
On February 23, Noroeste, based in the state of Sinaloa, began making inquiries regarding allegations that members of the municipal police had formed part the security cordon of recently arrested Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’.
Noroeste began the investigation by contacting the Municipal Office of Public Security, which refused to comment. The newspaper reported immediately receiving a series of threatening phone calls and messages warning journalists not to publish anything on the subject.
In the following days, a photographer outside the building in which Guzman was captured, was forced by a group of marines to erase his images, while three journalists covering a pro-Guzman march were beaten up, threatened and robbed of their filming equipment by police officers.
Most recently, a journalist covering a homicide in a public square was detained by police and accused of being the perpetrator of the crime. He was later released without charge.
InSight Crime Analysis
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America to work as a journalist, and there has long been a lack of political will to address the problem effectively. In 2012, Proceso reported that some of the journalists murdered in a wave of killings had been on a hit list known to state authorities, who had failed to act.
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Though the most publicized cases of media-related violence often involve criminal organizations, 11 percent of murdered journalists in Mexico are suspected of being killed either by military or government officials, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). 27 percent of the victims were covering cases of corruption.
One journalist has already been murdered so far this year, crime and security reporter Gregorio Jimenez de la Cruz, who was murdered in Veracruz in February. Although Jimenez had been investigating numerous sensitive stories connected to organized crime, the authorities were quick to announce his kidnap, torture and murder were the result of a personal feud, according to the CPJ.