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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Three Mexican journalists killed in one week



Three Mexican journalists in the states of Oaxaca, Veracruz and Guanajuato have been killed in the span of a week.

“We are appalled by all these murders of journalists in Mexico…Three deaths in a week – when will the violence stop?” said Lucie Morillon, program director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Radio journalist Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento was fatally shot outside the offices of La Favorita 103.3FM in Oaxaca on July 2.

Two people were waiting for Sánchez Sarmiento to leave his office in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz around 9:30 AM when the attack happened, according to Proceso. They fired seven shots, three of which hit the journalist, Periodistas en Riesgo reported.

Proceso reported that attorneys, investigators and specialists were investigating the case and had established a search of the immediate area around the site of the killing just after it happened.

Sánchez Sarmiento had received death threats for some time, including at the office, by telephone or on Facebook and WhatsApp, but they had become more constant recently, according to Imparcial Oaxaca. The newspaper reported that the journalist told his coworkers, “I’m afraid, be careful, they say they will bring me down.”

“This crime must not become one of the dozens of unsolved journalist murders in Mexico, which has one of the worst impunity rates in the world,” said Carlos Lauría, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ senior Americas program coordinator.

In Veracruz, the body of Juan Mendoza Delgado, director of news portal Escribiendo la Verdad, was found on July 1 after he disappeared the previous day.

Mendoza Delgado also worked as a taxi driver, according to the State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP for its acronym in Spanish). The journalist’s family did not hear from him after he left for his driving shift on June 30.

Officials said his body, with no bullet wounds or signs of torture, had apparently been run over and did not release details about where it was found. Some news outlets reported that a photo is circulating on social media showing the body of a deceased person, resembling the journalist, who had been tortured and was laying on the side of the highway.

Mendoza Delgado previously worked as a police reporter at newspaper El Dictamen for 16 years, according to Proceso. He then opened the online news site Escribiendo la Verdad.

And, in Guanajuato, the body of newspaper editor Gerardo Nieto Alvarez was found on June 26 with his throat cut.

According to RSF, a prosecutor “immediately ruled out any possibility of a link with [Nieto Alvarez’s] journalism. Yet, family members of the deceased journalist, who edited newspaper El Tábano, told RSF “they were convinced he was killed because of his work as a journalist.”

"More than 50 journalists have been killed or have disappeared [in Mexico] since 2007,” according to CPJ.

RSF said that three other journalists have been murdered in Mexico this year. All were in either Veracruz or Oaxaca.

The body of newspaper editor José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo was found on the side of a highway in Veracruz on January 24 after he was pulled from his home by armed individuals 22 days before.

The tortured body of Veracruz radio journalist Armando Saldaña Morales was found in Oaxaca on May 4, the site reported. Community radio director Abel Martínez Raymundo was killed on April 14 after leaving a station in the same state.

Mexico ranked 7th worldwide on CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index, which tracks legal prosecution in cases of murders of journalists.



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