Friday, July 19, 2013

Mexico: Reporter who covered police news killed in Mexico


Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social

The body of journalist Alberto López Bello was found on 17 July 2013 at 7:10 a.m. in a place known as “Los Humedales” in the Viguera neighbourhood of Oaxaca City. López Bello had been a journalist covering the police beat for El Imparcial newspaper. His body was found alongside that of Arturo Alejandro Franco Rojas, who, it seems, was not connected to journalism or the media.

The state's public prosecutor said investigations into the crime had begun and that they were looking into possible connections with local organised crime. It was also announced that López Bello's work as a journalist was being considered in their lines of investigation.

In May, López Bello was detained by state police while documenting a message that was written on a blanket – a message that had been connected to organised crime. After that incident there have been no other recorded threats or occasions that would suggest the journalist was in any danger.

According to the Cencos annual report, in 2012 Oaxaca was one of the states in Mexico with the highest number of violations against journalists, with 35 cases, the majority committed by public officials. However it was a year without deaths or disappearances of media personnel in the state. Following anti-drug police operations in neighbouring states of Veracruz and Guerrero, the risk for journalists in Oaxaca has risen.

Cencos is calling on the state governor, Gabino Cué, to quickly and efficiently investigate the murders of Alberto López Bello and Arturo Alejandro Franco Rojas. Impunity in this case could lead to more crimes of a similar type and increases the danger for journalists in the area.

Cencos also urges the different levels of government to implement necessary measures to make the practice of journalism safe and to apply action protocols for security forces to protect media workers. The organisation offers its sympathy and solidarity to the families of Alberto López Bello and Arturo Alejandro Franco Rojas, and to the Oaxaca journalism community.