Upon the discovery of the burned corpse of journalist Salvador Adame Pardo a fortnight ago, Michoacán’s Attorney General suggested he had been murdered “for personal reasons,” a too-familiar refrain, say journalists.
It is part of an official tendency toward dismissing the work of the journalists as the main cause of their violent deaths, claim non-governmental organizations and journalists themselves.
The Mexico correspondent for the Americas program of the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) stated that authorities often focus on personal motives behind the deaths of journalists, “even if there are clear indications that their work was the cause.”
Jan Albert-Hootsen said the murders of at least four of the seven journalists slain this year were in direct retaliation for their work, “making Mexico the most dangerous country in the hemisphere for news workers.”
The Inter American Press Association said earlier this week that Adame was known for criticizing the local mayor.
The British newspaper The Guardian remarked that public officials harassing journalists has become commonplace in Mexico while Sinaloa’s Ríodoce wondered about the president’s pledge to defend press freedom.
“President Enrique Peña Nieto has pledged to defend freedom of the press . . . but the death of Adame comes at a time when the president is defending his administration against the accusation that it spies on journalists and activists . . . .” wrote the newspaper, whose co-founder, Javier Valdés Cárdenas, was one of this year’s seven victims.
Reporters Without Borders Latin America director Emmanuel Colombié said “as the number of journalists murdered in Mexico grows inexorably” each investigation should determine whether “the crime was related to the victim’s work as a journalist in order to serve justice and put a stop to the impunity that prevails when journalists are murdered.”
Adame’s murder even attracted the attention of the director-general of UNESCO.
“It is important that the authorities investigate this killing and bring those responsible for it to trial,” said Irina Bokova. “Journalists must be able to carry out their work safely as they play an essential role in ensuring that a well-informed public can exercise its democratic rights.”
Source: Sin Embargo (sp)