Daniel Alejandro Martínez Balzaldúa

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

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

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