The IFJ Calls for Action as New Killings Add to Crisis of Latin American Journalism

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Mexican government to step up its actions to protect journalists after reports that a missing journalist had been found dead in Veracruz only days after another journalist was killed in the region’s other media hotspot, Colombia.

“These latest killings one again push Latin America into the ranks of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Only the Middle East and Iraq are worse in a year that is proving to be another deadly chapter in the story of journalists under fire.”

According to press reports, the body of Adolfo Sanchez Guzman, who worked for a Televisa affiliate and reported for a radio station and an Internet news site, was found on Thursday with two shots in the back of the head. Sanchez Guzman, 32, was found with the body of a second man, apparently a friend who had also been shot.

Sanchez Guzman is the ninth journalist killed in Mexico this year. Four of those deaths were in November. His death comes a little more than a week after reporter Roberto Marcos Garcia was killed, also near Veracruz.

The IFJ says the Mexican authorities need to act to stem the flow of violence. “The killings have got to stop,” said White. “Every death only confirms the serious impact on journalism and press freedom.”

Violence against journalists has been rising in the region in the last few months of the year. On November 26, Colombian journalist Marino Pérez Murcia was killed in the city of Bogotá. His death came as journalists in Colombia have been facing a wave of threats from paramilitary and other groups.

“In Colombia, journalists have long faced numerous threats for producing investigative reports but we call on the government to end impunity in the country,” White said.

The most recent killings have made Latin America the second most dangerous region for journalism in the world, with at least 33 journalist and media staff killed there in 2006 and seven more who died in accidents or natural disasters while on the job. The only place more dangerous is the Middle East, where at least 60 journalists and media staff have been killed in Iraq this year.

In large part due to the spiralling violence in Iraq, journalist killings have risen dramatically this year. So far 138 journalists have been the victims of targeted killings in 2006, compared with 89 in 2005.

For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide