Reporters Without Borders criticises 'appalling level of impunity' in Mexico over journalist disappearances

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has condemned the “appalling level of impunity” in Mexico, where it claims there has been at least 21 unsolved disappearances of journalists since 2000.

According to Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights, at least eight of the 21  journalists have been missing for more than ten years.

The condemnation coincides with the tenth anniversary of Mexican journalist Mauricio Estrada Zamora’s disappearance in 2008.

Estrada was a crime reporter for  local daily La Opinión de Apatzingán and wrote a story that “reflected badly” on a federal agency police officer known as “El Diablo”, according to RSF.

Estrada was never seen again after leaving the newspaper’s offices on 12 February 2008. His car was found later that night with its doors open and lights on.

The most recent disappearance case occurred last month, when South Mexican crime reporter Agustín Silva Vázquez was reported lost a few days after he covered a firearms seizure.

RSF says that the involvement of state agencies has been “suspected” in most cases of disappearance because the stories covered involve local politics and corruption.

Head of RSF Latin America Emmanuel Colombié said: “With 12 journalists murdered since the start of 2017, the Mexican authorities are clearly already failing in their duty to protect media personnel.

“At the same time, they don’t assume their responsibility to conduct thorough investigations into the many cases of missing journalists or to ensure that the families of the victims get adequate compensation.

“The federal prosecutor’s office must redouble its efforts to provide concrete responses to the disappearance of Mauricio Estrada Zamora and all the other cases of journalists missing in Mexico.”

Mexico is ranked 147th out of 180 in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.

Ten reporters are reported to have been murdered in Mexico last year, several of whom covered drug cartels in reports.

Last month authorities said they were investigating potential links between the death of Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez and his work as a journalist.

The 77-year-old was found with stab wounds in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.

Picture: RSF

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