ARTICLE 19 Mexico marks 13 missing journalists on Day of the Disappeared
30 Aug 2012
International Day of the Disappeared was created to draw attention to the fate of people disappeared, killed, or imprisoned, unknown to their family or the police. ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America has documented 13 journalists that have since 2003 been - and remain - reported as disappeared.
Each of the 13 cases of disappeared journalists in Mexico shares a common set of characteristics:
- Journalists are disappeared in places where organised crime groups have a significant presence or influence over local authorities
- Journalists that report on crime are disappeared if they cover organised crime or the corrupt links between organised crime and the authorities
- Journalists are disappeared in states where the state authorities have so far failed to create specific laws against enforced disappearance. In the states of Michoacán, Veracruz, Tabasco, Nuevo León, and Coahuila y Sonora the authorities investigate the disappearances using general criminal laws.
There are several problems in the Mexican authorities' investigations into cases of aggressions against journalists and other media workers. In particular, the authorities' investigations have included important omissions, delays and an overall lack of diligence.
Ommissions in investigations are common when journalists are disappeared. Most cases have been declared 'on reserve' and suspended until new evidence arises. But usually the authorities fail to investgate properly and the case files often only include evidence given by the family of the disappeared journalist - with no evidence found by the authorities themselves.
Impunity is therefore rife in these cases. This situation of widespread impunity encourages future attacks on journalists, as perpetrators see no punishment as a result of similar crimes. The growth of impunity can be seen in the sustained increase of attacks.
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