Newspaper reporter murdered in western Mexico, two colleagues abducted then freed
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Mexican authorities to shed all possible light on last week’s murder of a national newspaper correspondent in Tepic, the capital of the Pacific-coast state of Nayarit, and the abductions of two Tepic-based journalists who had worked with him and who were later released.
The body of Luis Martín Sánchez, a correspondent for the leading national daily La Jornada, was found bearing the signs of torture on 8 July, three days after his wife reported that he had gone missing on the outskirts of Tepic.
According to the Nayarit state prosecutor’s office, Sánchez and the two journalists who were abducted and then released – Jonathan Lora Ramírez and Osiris Maldonado – had all worked together on journalistic projects.
“Luis Martín Sánchez’a brutal murder is a tragedy not only for those close to him but also for Mexican society as a whole. The level of violence against journalists has spiralled out of control in Mexico and must not be minimised. The Mexican authorities must urgently show that they are committed to changing this reality, and that they will prioritise combatting violence against journalists. It will be impossible to rein in this vicious circle of extreme violence and censorship as long as it is seen as just a collateral effect of the structural violence that afflicts Mexico more broadly, rather than a constant attack on democracy itself.”
La Jornada revealed that Sánchez’s computer and digital storage devices were taken from his office. The Nayarit state prosecutor’s office has said it is working on the assumption that his murder was linked to his journalistic work.
The judicial authorities must now pursue their investigation to the end in order to discover the precise motive for Sánchez’s murder and punish those responsible. They must also make every effort to identify those responsible for the kidnappings of his two colleagues.
Lora Ramírez, who works for several media outlets and has his own local news page on Facebook, was kidnapped in front of his children from his home in the Tepic suburb of Xalisco on 7 July and was released unharmed 24 hours later. Maldonado, a graphic designer who collaborates with Crítica Digital Noticias, was released on 9 July, six days after being abducted.
RSF already reported yet another escalation in the climate of terror and violence in Mexico just a few days ago. Nearly 150 journalists have been killed since 2000 in Mexico, which is ranked 128th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index.