By Ingrid Bachmann
See update at end.
Two reporters and two cameramen were kidnapped from the city of Gómez Palacio in Durango state, where they were covering prisoner unrest, the Los Angeles Times reports. The inmates were protesting revelations that jail officials allegedly armed inmates and used them to carry out drug-related killings, BBC explains.
The missing journalists include Jaime Canales, a cameraman for the station Multimedios Laguna; Alejandro Hernández, a cameraman for Televisa Torreón; Héctor Gordoa, a Televisa correspondent; and Oscar Solís, a reporter for the newspaper El Vespertino in Gómez Palacio, CNN and Milenio report.
According to The New York Times, the kidnapping was explicitly done to manipulate coverage: the journalists’ captors demanded that a local TV station broadcast three videos that accused local police officers of collaborating with the Los Zetas drug gang.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have called on authorities to solve the case and end the climate of impunity for those who commit crimes against journalists.
In an interview with EFE, the director of Article 19’s Mexico work said that the incident is an example of organized crime attempting to directly influence the editorial line of the national media. Up until recently, it was primarily local media outlets that were facing violence and intimidation.
One of the journalists has been freed. See this post for details.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.