WASHINGTON – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, condemned the killing of three news photographers and a newspaper administration employee in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz.
The Office of the Special Rapporteur expressed its “profound concern for the recurrence of extremely serious acts of violence against the press in Mexico, particularly in Veracruz, where at least nine media and communications workers have been killed in the last 12 months.”
The bodies of photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna and Esteban Rodriguez were found dismembered and bearing signs of torture on May 3, the date when World Press Freedom Day is celebrated.
The first two worked until 2011 with the newspaper Notiver, while Esteban Rodriguez had been a photographer for the daily AZ and TV Azteca. Irasema Becerra was an administrative professional at the daily El Dictamen.
In 2011 Huge, Luna and Rodriguez left Veracruz state because of threats they received, according to the Office of the Special Rapporteur.
Those murders were added to another five journalists killed in Veracruz state over the past year.
Last April 28, Regina Martinez, a journalist for Proceso magazine, was found slain at her home in Veracruz.
“The Office of the Special Rapporteur reiterates its concern for the persistent violence committed against social communicators in Mexico, particularly in Veracruz, and it calls attention to the fact that five of the victims have been linked to the newspaper Notiver,” it said.
The IACHR office also urged that Mexican authorities act “urgently” to investigate these crimes “in a prompt and diligent manner, to identify, try, and punish all of the responsible parties, and to guarantee that the perpetrators provide just reparations to the victims’ families.”
The independent National Human Rights Commission, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombud’s office, has documented nearly 80 killings of journalists and media workers from 2000 to the present in Mexico, one of the world’s most dangerous countries to exercise this profession and where female journalists are increasingly becoming victims of violence associated with organized crime and corruption.