Crime journalist reported missing in Veracruz

New York, July 25, 2012–Mexican authorities must immediately investigate the disappearance of a crime photojournalist who was last seen on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Miguel Morales Estrada worked in Veracruz, which has become Mexico’s most dangerous state for the press, according to CPJ research.

Morales, who works for the daily Diario de Poza Rica and as a freelancer for the newspaper Tribuna Papanteca in the town of Papantla, disappeared after telling directors at Diario de Poza Rica that he needed to get out of the city “for personal reasons,” according to a statement from the Veracruz attorney general’s office. The journalist was last seen by his wife in the city of Poza Rica, in the state of Veracruz, local news reports said.

On Monday, Morales’ wife filed a complaint with the Veracruz state prosecutor, according to news reports. Authorities said they launched an investigation into the reporter’s disappearance, the reports said.

“We urge Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of Miguel Morales Estrada,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior coordinator for the Americas. “A full, effective investigation would send a signal to the public and press corps in Veracruz that authorities intend to protect their right to freedom of expression.”

Local journalists told CPJ that Morales’ disappearance is heightening fear among the Veracruz press corps. Since March 2011, at least two journalists have disappeared in Veracruz, one of whom was found dead almost two months later, CPJ research shows. A number of other journalists have fled in fear of reprisal, according to CPJ research. Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows.

  • For more data and analysis on Mexico, visit CPJ’s Mexico page here.