New York, August 25, 2011–The body of Mexican journalist Humberto Millán Salazar was found early today in a field in the state of Sinaloa near the state capital, Culiacán, with a gunshot wound in the head, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities said the journalist was abducted early yesterday by men in two SUVs who intercepted him on his way to work.
“Mexican authorities must conduct a full investigation into the murder of Humberto Millán Salazar and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The lethal trend of impunity for crimes against journalists must end.”
Local journalists told CPJ they doubted that the Sinaloa cartel was responsible for the journalist’s murder. “He didn’t write about drugs,” said Ismael Bojorquez, editor of the weekly magazine Riodoce. “He was always writing and talking about politics. There were a lot of people upset with him–but for politics in the state, not crime or drugs.”
Millán was the host of a show on Radio Fórmula and ran and wrote a column for the news website A Discusión. Local journalists said that he focused on local party politics and political infighting instead of police or government corruption. A colleague at the radio station, Berzahi Osuna Enciso, told CPJ that Millán’s killers would be found among his political enemies.
Drug-related violence now makes Mexico one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, according to CPJ research. Six journalists, including Millán, have been killed this year alone, at least one in direct reprisal for their work. CPJ is investigating whether the other five deaths were related to the journalists’ work. According to CPJ’s 2011 Impunity Index, Mexico’s rating worsened for the third consecutive year, with 13 cases of journalists’ murdered unsolved, putting it at eighth on the list. The index identifies countries worldwide where journalists are murdered regularly and governments are unable or unwilling to solve the crimes.