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

MEXICO / 27 JAN 2012

Mexico's authorities have claimed a recent drop in violence in crime-ridden Veracruz as the fruit of military operations, but…

AYOTZINAPA / 27 FEB 2018

Authorities in Mexico have ordered the arrest of more than two dozen high-ranking state police officials for their alleged…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 8 AUG 2017

Mexico's landmark judicial reform just celebrated the first anniversary of its implementation, but the law's lingering defects and unfulfilled promise…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…