Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Macías’ decapitated body was found on a road near the city
of Nuevo Laredo,
news reports said.
A note found with the journalist’s body said she had been killed for writing on
social media websites and attributed the murder to a criminal group, news
reports said.
Her murder was the first ever documented by CPJ worldwide that was in direct
relation to journalism published on social media.

Sources told CPJ that Macías, 39, reported the activities
of criminal groups on Twitter and on the website Nuevo Laredo en vivo (Nuevo
Laredo Live) under the pseudonym “La NenaDLaredo” (The girl from Laredo). The
note found with her body identified the website and the pseudonym; headphones
and a keyboard were placed next to her head. It was not immediately clear whether
a particular story or Macías’ uncensored reporting in general angered the
killers. It was also unclear how the killers discovered her identity.

In northern Mexico, as in other parts of the country,
organized crime groups have terrorized
the local press into silence, leading citizens to begin reporting criminal
activities on websites and social media, either anonymously or using pen names.
Professional journalists told CPJ that they, too, reported stories under
pseudonyms on social media websites that they couldn’t cover under their own
names through their traditional outlets. Facebook, Twitter, and other such
websites were filling the void in covering crime and drug violence, CPJ research showed.

Sources told CPJ that Macías had reporting and
administrative responsibilities for the local daily Primera Hora,
although the newspaper would not confirm her employment status.

Mexican criminal groups began targeting social media users
in 2011. On September 13, the bodies of two young people, who were not
identified, were hung from a pedestrian overpass in Nuevo Laredo. Press
said notes left with the bodies warned against writing on