Radio journalist kidnapped in Guerrero state, Mexico

Mexico in its region. Image Source: TUBS

Mexico in its region.
Image Source: TUBS

Guerrero, Mexico (IFEX) – Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by a wave of violence against journalists in Mexico in which the latest victim, radio presenter Bernardo Javier Cano Torres, was abducted along with three other people near the troubled city of Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, on the night of 7 May.

Sources told Reporters Without Borders that Cano, one of the hosts of the programme “Hora Cero” on Iguala-based ABC Radio 93.9FM, was on his way home when he disappeared on the road between Iguala and Teloloapan. The Guerrero state authorities have confirmed that he was abducted.

“Hora Cero” co-host Natividad Ambrosio told Reporters Without Borders that they had been subjected to pressure and were forced to switch from over-the-air broadcasting to Internet broadcasting although the state governorship campaign is under way. “Hora Cero” recently celebrated its second anniversary.

In a recent programme, they commented on the threats received by Ambrosio from one of the brothers of José Luis Abarca, the former Iguala mayor who was arrested for his alleged role in the disappearance of 43 student teachers in September 2014. The mayor’s brother threatened them for taking photos of an investigation by tax officials into the Abarca family’s precious stone business.

“We condemn this abduction and call on the Guerrero authorities to conduct an independent, impartial and thorough investigation in close cooperation with the federal authorities with the aim of obtaining this journalist’s release as quickly as possible,” Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles said.

Cano’s abduction came just three days after Armando Saldaña Morales, a journalist with the Veracruz state radio station La Ke Buena 100.9 FM, was found dead on 4 May in San José Cosolapa, in the neighbouring southern state of Oaxaca. He had been tortured and then shot.

Saldaña hosted “La Grilla Punto y Debate,” a political programme that was broadcast every Saturday. He was the second journalist to be killed in this town in the past nine months, following Octavio Rojas Hernandez of El Buen Tono, who was murdered on 11 August.

Veracruz and Oaxaca are two of Mexico’s deadliest states for journalists. The rate of violent crime is extremely high for various reasons including the presence of drug cartels and the corruption of local government officials. Two other journalists had already been killed in these two states since January – Moises Sanchez Cerezo in Veracruz and Abel Manuel Bautista Raymundo in Oaxaca.

Guerrero is also a particularly dangerous state for media personnel with at least 12 journalists murdered there from 2002 to 2014. Reporters Without Borders contributed to a report published on 27 April about the difficulties for journalists in this region.

Mexico is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, published in February.

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 12 May 2015.