Journalists Killed  |  Mexico

Daniel Alejandro Martínez Balzaldúa

Vanguardia

April 23 or 24, 2013, in Saltillo, Mexico

The photographer's mutilated body was found with that of a friend, Julián Zamora Garcia, early the morning of April 24 on a street in Saltillo, Vanguardía reported. He had last been seen by his colleagues at the daily's offices at around 3 p.m. the day before when he left to cover an event. He never arrived.

Martínez, 22, had worked for Vanguardia for only a month and had been assigned to the daily's society section, which is an entry-level position, according to Ricardo Mendoza, the paper's editorial director. Another editor at Vanguardia, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told CPJ that the climate of fear in Coahuila state prevented the newspaper from doing any investigation in stories with links to organized crime. Photographers covering the society section in Mexico have been targeted by organized crime groups in the past for inadvertently capturing images of cartel members, according to CPJ research.

The state prosecutor's office issued a press release the night of April 24 that said two notes had been found at the scene of the crime that alleged the photographer had ties to criminal groups, according to Vanguardia. Mendoza said that the prosecutor had twisted the meaning of the messages to imply that Martínez had been killed for betraying a cartel. He told CPJ the prosecutor had no evidence and that it was too early to know why the photographer had been killed. A reporter at the paper who said he had seen the messages told CPJ he thought the meaning of the messages was ambiguous.

Across Mexico, authorities at the state and local level have a dismal record of solving journalist murders. CPJ research shows that officials have been known to attack the reputation of the victims, either directly or through leaks to the press.

On April 26, officials from the state government of Coahuila apologized for including the allegations in the press release and said they would launch a full investigation, according to news reports.


Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.


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