Mexican radio journalist survives stabbing in Puebla

A Mexican radio journalist in the state of Puebla is recovering after an attack on his life.

On Aug. 15, Fredy Morales Salas was stabbed fifteen times and his throat was cut by intruders at his home in Venustiano Carranza in the Sierra Norte of Puebla near the state of Veracruz.

Morales Salas is a reporter for radio program Enlace Serrano and an inspector of the Ajengibre community in Venustiano Carranza, according to La Jornada de Oriente. His home also serves as his office and newsroom.

According to Diario Cambio, Morales Salas reported on his program about the robbery of fuel, but stopped because of the risks.

However, La Jornada said his family members denied that he covered themes related to robbery of fossil fuels. They said the attack could be related to reports about municipal authorities in the region.

Diario Cambio reported the morning of Aug. 16 that Morales Salas was in stable condition.

The State Prosecutor opened an investigation into the case and asked the State Public Security Secretariat to implement surveillance measures for Morales Salas and to provide him protection during transfers, according to the General Secretariat of Government in Puebla (SGG for its acronym in Spanish).

Secretary General of the Government, Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano confirmed that a protection protocol was activated, according to Diario Cambio. The publication added that the SGG activated the protocol of coordination between the State and the Federation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

The newly created Commission for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Puebla posted on Twitter that it was in contact with Morales.

Claudia Martínez, president of the National Collective for Early Warning for Journalists and Human Rights defenders, asked the national protection mechanism for journalists to take Morales Salas away, according to La Jornada. She criticized the time it allegedly took the state commission to react to the attack, the publication added.

“The famous agreement they (the federal authorities) already have with the state government for the protection of journalists is so far inoperative,” Martínez said.  “I think it is important to say under what terms the state government will operate to safeguard journalists, since there is no emergency telephone number if fellow journalists are victimized, and so far we continue going to the federal entities, which is unforgivable.”

Between eight and nine journalists have been killed in Mexico this year under circumstances that could be related to their work, and journalists continue to be targeted with death threats and violence.

Newspaper El Universal reported on Aug. 16 that one of its columnists, Héctor de Mauleón, has repeatedly received death threats, the most recent being a video on Twitter that shows someone firing six shots into a photo of the journalist’s face. It’s accompanied by these words: “Sr. Héctor the sentence is about to be fulfilled, death has come,” according to the publication.

Following the murder of well-known journalist Javier Valdez in May in Sinaloa, hundreds of journalists in the country started organizing as part of the #AgendaDePeriodistas initiative. The group is working toward creating a national organization to work for the interests of journalists, mainly protection from violence.

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.