Press organizations demand investigation of 17 missing journalists in Mexico

The international organizations Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and the Journalists' Rights House in Mexico called on Mexican authorities to investigate missing journalists, including the most recent case of reporter and photographer Miguel Morales Estrada, who disappeared on July 19 in the city of Poza Rica, Veracruz.

In 2012, other cases of missing journalists in Mexico were reported: Federico Manuel García Contreras, from the central state of San Luis Potosí, and Mexican-American reporter Zane Alejandro Plemmons Rosales, who went missing in the border state of Tamaulipas. The Journalists' Rights House in Mexico also reported the disappearance of journalist Óscar Díaz Peniche, age 72, who was last seen on July 16, in the city of Cancún.

Mexican journalist Teodoro Rentería said the cases amount to 17 missing Mexican journalists and that these are forced disappearances since ransom requests for rescuing the victims were not made in any of the cases.

The Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fundalex in Spanish) said that particularly in the case of Veracruz, there are four missing journalists in that state, which is considered the most dangerous place for the press in Mexico. The first disappearance in Veracruz, located on the eastern side of the country, was reported in 2003, according to Fundalex. As of yet, authorities have ignored the disappearances of missing journalists Jesús Mejía Lechuga, from Noticiario A Primera Hora of the city of Martínez de la Torre, as well as Evaristo Ortega Zárate, from the weekly Espacio de Colipa, as well as Gabriel Manuel Fonseca, from the newspaper El Mañanero de Acayucan, and Morales Estrada, reported the newspaper Imagen del Golfo.

"A full, effective investigation would send a signal to the public and press corps in Veracruz that authorities intend to protect their right to freedom of expression," Carlos Lauría, senior coordinator for the CPJ program of the Americas, said in a statement.

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