Three journalists abducted three days apart in same Mexican city
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Mexican authorities to do whatever is necessary to find a journalist who was kidnapped with his wife and son in Taxco, in the southwestern state of Guerrero, on 19 November, and a husband-and-wife team of journalists who were kidnapped in the same city three days later. The gunmen who abducted them must also be found and brought to justice, RSF says
The first journalist to be targeted was Marco Antonio Toledo Jaimes, 59, who runs a local weekly newspaper, El Espectador de Taxco, and reports for the N3 Guerrero TV channel and the La Crónica news website. A group of gunmen abducted Toledo from his home in Taxco, along with his wife and son, on the night of 19 November.
The same city of 100,000 inhabitants saw a second abduction three days later, on 22 November, this time of two journalists, Alberto Sánchez Juárez and his wife, fellow journalist Silvia Nayssa Arce Avilés, who together run the local Facebook news page RedSiete. Gunmen kidnapped them on a Taxco street near their office.
The spokesman of the Guerrero state prosecutor-general’s office announced the next day that an investigation was under way into the criminal disappearance of five persons in Taxco, including three journalists.
“These heinous and cowardly kidnappings have boosted the climate of terror and criminal violence that surrounds media professionals in Mexico. We call on the authorities to react as quickly as possible. They must do everything possible to not only find the three journalists and their loved ones, but also provide a real response to this dramatic security situation, particularly in the state of Guerrero, one of the most violent states in Mexico for journalists.”
Chronic violence in Guerrero
None of the three journalists were benefitting from the Mexican mechanism for the protection of journalists – a federal entity that provides security measures for journalists who are victims of threats. Nonetheless, according to the information obtained by RSF, Toledo has often covered corruption cases and local politics in the course of a long career and had received threats linked to his work in the past.
Three men were kidnapped in Guerrero’s southwestern Tierra Caliente region in January in connection with their contribution to content posted on a local news site. Reporter Alan Castro Abarca was badly injured in a shooting attack in Guerrero’s largest city, the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, on 3 July. Nelson Matus, the founder and editor of the Lo Real de Guerrero news website, was gunned down in Acapulco 12 days later.
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.