The latest journalist to be kidnapped in Mexico is Marcos Antonio Avila Garcia. He was taken by masked gunmen in Sonora while waiting for his car to be washed in the city of Ciudad Obregon. Three masked gunman with automatic rifles were involved in the kidnapping according to reports in Sonora. No ransom has been demanded as of this report. Avila-Garcia was a police news reporter for the Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional media. Police are looking into the possibility that the reporters was kidnapped by a drug cartel as he often reported on organized crime inside Mexico.
In recent years Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries on earth for journalists. Reporters are frequently targeted by drug cartels in their conflict with the Mexican government that has been waging an offensive against the cartels. Fighting between the various cartels has also resulted in thousands of people in Mexico being killed, kidnapped, or extorted. Just last week gunmen opened fire on the offices of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo Loredo and the week before that Mexican police found mutilated bodies of three photo-journalists inside plastic bags dumped in a canal in Veracruz. Also recently police found 49 bodies along a Mexican highway all missing their heads, hands, and feet as we previously reported on at SDNP.
The Mexican government rarely prosecutes journalist killings or any other homicide focusing instead on “serious crimes.” One often wonders just what the Mexican government considers “serious crimes” if murder doesn’t fit that definition.
Between 2000-2011 there were 79 journalists killed in Mexico according to statistics from the Mexican National Commission on Human Rights. In addition at least 14 of them disappeared and have never been found. Numbers vary among human rights groups however.