July 18, 2013 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Drug traffickers suspected in reporter’s murder in Oaxaca state

Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to do everything possible to shed light on the murder of Alberto López Bello, a newspaper reporter whose body was found alongside that of a policeman yesterday in Trinidad de Viguera, a town near the southern city of Oaxaca. Both had been shot dead. The two were last seen alive earlier yesterday in a downtown Oaxaca bar. No message was left by their killers. Aged 28, López had been covering crime for the past six years for El Imparcial, one of the state of Oaxaca’s leading dailies, as well as working for a local radio station. He had recently written several stories about drug dealing in Oaxaca. He and one of his colleagues, Jacobo López, were arrested on 18 May and spent several hours in police custody after photographing a sign left by a criminal group. He had been threatened in the past in connection with his work. The police officer whose body was found with López’s was Arturo Alejandro Franco Rojas, 26, who worked for the Oaxaca city police detective department. “We urge those investigating this crime to quickly identify the motive and those responsible”, Reporters Without Borders said. “We pay tribute to López, whose death is another reminder of the dangers to which reporters and news media are exposed when they try to cover sensitive subjects such as drug trafficking.” “We also salute the courage of the management of López’s newspaper, who have said they are determined to continue providing news and information, despite the acts of intimidation and the tragedies they frequently encounter.” Three of El Imparcial’s street vendors were shot dead by gunmen on 8 October 2007 in what the newspaper’s management said at the time was probably a reprisal for recent articles in the newspaper. Mexico and Brazil have been the western hemisphere’s two deadliest countries for journalists since the start of 2013. In Mexico, two journalists have been killed in connection with their work so far this year, while two others have disappeared. Four journalists have been killed in Brazil. In the past decade, 88 journalists have been killed in Mexico and 17 others have disappeared. A total of 26 Mexican journalists are currently living abroad and or in another region in order to escape the dangers to which they have been exposed.