Decapitation of Mexican editor sparks international condemnation

International organizations and the French government condemned the killing of Mexican journalist María Elizabeth Macías. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Amnesty International, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urged Mexican authorities to take immediate action to stop rising violence against journalists in the country.

Macías worked for the newspaper Primera Hora and denounced organized crime under a pseudonym on social media, according to initial investigations into her death. Her decapitated body was found Saturday, Sept. 24, in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Two other bodies were found hanging from a pedestrian bridge with a sign warning others about posting crime information over social media and the Internet on Sept. 13 in the same city, bordering Laredo, Texas .

"These three homicides represent an alarming strategy to intimidate social media users to stop the flow of information about violence," the Amnesty International statement read.

“The grim landmark of 80 journalists killed in the past decade has just been reached, with the murders getting steadily more horrific as the years pass,” Reporters Without Borders said. “There seems to be no way out of this horror. The country is immersed in an all-out war and just writing the word ‘narcos’ or ‘trafficking’ can cost you your life."

Since local media in Mexico already largely self-censor reports on organized crime, criminal organizations are now targeting social media users. "We're very concerned that these criminal organizations can physically locate someone who anonymously posts about crime on a website," Darío Ramírez, director of Artículo 19 in Mexico, told Radio 13 in an interview.

Amnesty International urged authorities to create "an atmosphere where traditional media and social media users can exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear of harassment or death."