Friday, June 14, 2024

Televisa newscaster kidnapped in Guadalajara

Journalist Jaime Barrera, a newscaster for Televisa, has been reported missing in the state of Jalisco. 

On Monday evening, Barrera’s empty Fiat Fastback was found on a highway outside of Zapopan, a suburb of the state capital Guadalajara. The journalist’s daughter Itzul Barrrea, a national councilwoman for the ruling party Morena, alerted police to her father’s disappearance and posted a message on social media asking for help in locating him.

Journalist Jaime Barrera's daughter Itzul Barrera at a rally in Mexico for Claudia Sheinbaum for president.
Barrera’s daughter Itzul Barrrea, a national councilwoman for Morena, alerted police to her father’s disappearance. (Itzul Barrera/Instagram)

“My father, the best journalist in Mexico, is missing,” she wrote. “I pray with all my soul that you all help us to find him.”

On Tuesday morning, the state Attorney General’s Office revealed further information thanks to traffic cameras. Video footage retrieved by state authorities showed that Barrera had been forcibly removed from his vehicle by three or four suspects who were traveling in an SUV. One of the suspects was holding what appeared to be an automatic weapon.

Forensic examiners gathered evidence from the journalist’s vehicle, including fingerprints.

Concerns arose Monday after Barrera failed to appear for his evening broadcast. He was last seen leaving the radio station after his midday broadcast, reportedly en route for lunch with his children. When he failed to return to the studio, a missing persons report was filed with police.

Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro stated that he is personally overseeing the investigation, posting on social media that all state security agencies are collaborating to locate Barrera. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned the disappearance during his Tuesday morning press conference. 

Three men and one woman sitting around a desk on a still from the Mexican political show Con Todo Respeto
In addition to his work for Televisa, Barrera, second from right, was a regular pundit on a political panel discussion show, “Con Todo Respeto” (With All Due Respect), which broadcasts weekly on the University of Guadalajara’s Channel 44. (UDGTV)

“Yes, we have been informed about the journalist from Jalisco … the father of a member of our party, and we are working to help,” the president said. “I can’t say more, but we are involved.”

The family, which claimed it was not aware of any threats made against Barrera, has called on the Federal Attorney General’s Office to take up the case.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which promotes press freedom and defends journalists’ rights, is also investigating the disappearance. In a statement issued March 6, the CPJ said it views Mexico as the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere not actively at war for journalists.

With reports from Milenio, Informador, Telemundo and Infobae

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