In Mexico, reporter missing since Saturday

New York, July 11, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of Mexican journalist Rafael Ortiz Martínez, who has been missing since Saturday morning. CPJ is investigating whether the disappearance is related to his work.

Ortiz, a reporter for the Monclova-based daily Zócalo and host of the morning news program “Radio Zócalo” on local radio station XHCCG, was last seen leaving the newspaper’s offices at 1:30 a.m., Editor Sergio Cisneros told CPJ. Cisneros said Ortiz had been editing material for Saturday morning’s radio show.

When a Zócalo company car arrived at 6 that morning to pick up Ortiz, the journalist was not home, a spokeswoman for the Coahuila state prosecutor’s office said. Cisneros told CPJ that no one has seen Ortiz since.

Cisneros said that Ortiz wrote most recently about the prevalence of prostitution in Monclova, the resulting spread of HIV, and its effect on families. The journalist’s father, Rafael Ortiz del Toro, reported the disappearance to the Coahuila state prosecutor on Monday. The prosecutor’s office has started an investigation focusing on journalist’s work, a spokeswoman said.

“We are worried about our colleague Rafael Ortiz,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “We urge Mexican authorities to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation, locate Ortiz, and bring him to safety.”