UNESCO chief speaks out against murders of two Mexican journalists
The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murders of two Mexican journalists, which bring the total number of media professionals killed in the country this year to ten.
Marco Aurelio Martínez Tijerina, 45, the presenter of a radio show called Informativo 800 at XEDD Radio La Tremenda, was found dead on 10 July in Montemorelos, a city in northeast Mexico.
He was abducted on the street on 9 July by armed men and his body was found the next day after authorities received an anonymous call. He had been shot and apparently tortured, according to investigators.
Formerly the news director for XERN Radio Naranjera 950 AM, Mr. Martínez was also a correspondent for TV Azteca, Grupo Multimedios and W Radio.
Guillermo Alcaraz Trejo, former camera operator for several media outlets, was shot dead in the city of Chihuahua in northern Mexico on 10 July. Masked men opened fire on him as he was coming out of the offices of a magazine called Omnia.
At the time of his death, he worked in the video division of the Chihuahua State Commission for Human Rights.
The fate of the two slain journalists “underlines the danger media professionals face every day so that freedom of expression, a fundamental human right, may be exercised,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, calling on Mexican authorities to bring the perpetrators of the killings to justice.
Since 1997, the head of UNESCO has condemned any physical attacks on journalists, and Ms. Bokova has emphasized that “only the political willingness of States to bring to justice the murderers of journalists and thus put an end to impunity will, finally, be the best protection for press professionals.”
In a report issued by the agency earlier this year, it found that increasing numbers of journalists are being killed worldwide, mostly in countries that are at peace.
Last year set a new record, with 77 murders reported by the agency. The high number is due in part to the murder of some 30 journalists in one day during an ambush in the Philippines on 23 November 2009, the publication said.
The figure exceeded the previous record of 69 set in 2006, when violence in Iraq was rampant.