HomeNewsBriefOn World Press Freedom Day, 3 Journalists Found Dead in Mexico
BRIEF

On World Press Freedom Day, 3 Journalists Found Dead in Mexico

MEXICO / 4 MAY 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

The bodies of three current or former journalists, some of whom had reportedly covered organized crime-related stories, were discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz on international press freedom day, underscoring the dangers the country's media faces from crime.

The three dismembered bodies were found inside plastic bags, dumped in a canal in the town of Boca del Rio, Veracruz. Two of them -- Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge (a nephew and uncle) -- had been working in the area as photojournalists. The third victim, Esteban Rodriguez, had worked as a photojournalist until last year before fleeing the state, later returning to work as a welder. Luna's girlfriend Irasema Becerra, who worked for newspaper El Dictamen though not as a journalist, was also murdered, reports El Universal.

The killings come just five days after the body of Proceso journalist Regina Martinez was found beaten to death in Xalapa, Veracruz. She had recently written a number of stories relating to organized crime.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Veracruz is now the most dangerous state in Mexico to be a reporter, with seven journalists killed in the last 14 months alone.

InSight Crime Analysis

The rise in violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 has been accompanied by a spike in murders of journalists. Though they offer slightly different estimates on numbers killed, both the CPJ and the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) have declared Mexico to be the most dangerous place in Latin America for journalists.

Organized crime is not the only threat to journalists -- corrupt politicians and police have also had their interests in silencing the press. But criminal groups arguably pose the most violent threat to freedom of speech in Mexico.

The Mexican government passed a law earlier this week that makes the killing of journalists a federal crime. However, the country still has a long way to go to effectively protect journalists and combat impunity enjoyed by those who attack them. As analyst Douglas Farah has noted, while Mexico may be experiencing similar levels of violence against the press as Colombia did in the 1990s, it has so far been slower in taking the necessary measures to protect journalists. Whereas Colombian journalists of that era managed to band together and form a unified front against threats, this has not happened in Mexico due to the lack of government support, according to Farah.

This has meant the Mexican press in many cases has been cowed into self-censorship, opting not to cover stories for fear of retaliation from corrupt officials or drug gangs.

Veracruz state, a stronghold of the Zetas drug gang, experienced one of its most violent years in 2011, with murders linked to organized crime rising four-fold from the previous year, to 542. The Zetas have previously been linked to pressure on the media and the killing of journalists.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 17 FEB 2022

The discovery of two bodies hanging from a bridge in Ecuador may be the starkest sign yet of the country’s…

FEATURED / 11 JUN 2020

Media headlines and US indictments have confidently proclaimed the Jalisco Cartel to be  Mexico's dominant criminal group. But while it…

ARGENTINA / 18 SEP 2018

Changing dynamics in the criminal world, new government control strategies and fast technological advances are forcing organized crime groups to…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…