By Sovereign Hager
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
DURANGO, Mexico – Mexican crime journalist Eliseo Barron Laguna was found dead, with signs of torture on Tuesday, May 26. He is the second journalist killed in the state of Durango in less than a month. Carlos Ortega was shot dead as he was investigating police corruption in Durango. The next day Fidel Perez Sanchez, a crime reporter in Vera Cruz was reported missing. Mexico’s war on drugs and public corruption has made journalism increasingly dangerous.
The State Prosecutor’s office for Durango reported that armed men barged into Barron Laguna’s home late on Monday, beat him in front of his wife and daughter, and kidnapped him. Laguna has been a reporter for the publication La Opinion de Torreon for 11 years. His last article was about police corruption.
Traffickers have been known to harass journalists who report on drug gangs and attacks on the media have increased since Calderon launched his army-backed assault on the drug cartels at the end of 2006. Drug-related violence has killed 2,300 people in Mexico this year.
Mexico is considered the second most dangerous place in the world for journalists, after Iraq. Ten journalists have been killed this year alone, and at least eight have been killed for reasons directly related to their work. Most of the targeted journalists covered organized crime or the government.
Research by The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that local and state authorities in Mexico have been ineffective at solving press-related cases and at times have been complicit in the crimes. The text of the CPJ report can be found here.
A bill imposing penalties for crimes against “journalistic activity” has stalled in the Mexican Senate. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for a swift and efficient prosecution and resolution to the cases of murder and kidnapping of journalists. So far the police have made no arrests related to these recent killings and have made no public determination that the killings were related to the individuals’ work as journalists.