The murder of Esqueda Castro has prompted calls from concerned international bodies such as the delegation of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), The Director-General of UNESCO, The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).
At least 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 for motives confirmed as related to their work, according the Committee to Protect Journalists. And 33 of those cases the killer have so far escaped justice. Impunity for killers remains the norm, and the murders of journalists continue in Mexico
The New York-based media advocacy group says 50 more were slain during the same period for reasons that remain unclear.
The bullet-riddled body of a news photographer was found in central Mexico on Friday, state officials, putting 2017 on track to become the deadliest year yet for journalists in the notoriously violent country.
Edgar Daniel Esqueda, 23, who worked with Metropoli San Luis and Vox Populi SLP in the state of San Luis Potosi, was found in the state capital with at least three bullet wounds in the back of his neck, authorities said.
The news outlets where Esqueda worked reported had reported his abduction from his home by gunmen on Thursday morning.
His family said he had been dragged from their home on Thursday morning by gunmen wearing police uniforms. The San Luis Potosí state attorney general’s office tweeted a statement saying its officers were not involved in any abduction.
Vox Populi SLP reported on its Facebook page that Esqueda’s hands had been bound and his body showed signs of torture.
Jan-Albert Hootsen, representative in Mexico for the Committee to protect journalists, said Esqueda had said he had been threatened by investigators over photos he had taken of a shootout.
State officials told the Associated Press no lines of investigation were being ruled out.
News outlets in San Luis Potosí reported that the photojournalist had reported the threats to the authorities.
“He was approached by five detectives [on 4 July] who threatened to take his camera and beat him up if continued taking photos,” according to a statement by a federal agency responsible for providing journalists with protection. “They made him erase material and ran him off.”
Esqueda was later confronted by state investigative police while covering another event 13 July and was asked to show his ID – which was photographed – and told by the officers that they would be watching him and his home, Mexican media reported.
The officers also suggested – without presenting proof – that Esqueda might be using his work to pass along information to criminals, the Associated Press reported.
On Octobre 6 around 100 people, most of them journalists, joined a protest in San Miguel Potosí. Some waved signs reading: “No more dead journalists” and “Am I next?”
With Esqueda’s killing, 2017 could become the bloodiest year yet for reporters in Mexico, according to press freedom and journalists’ advocacy group Articulo 19.
The photo journalist was the 11th reporter killed so far this year, the group said. That matched the total in 2016, which was the highest number on record in a country torn by runaway levels of criminal and drug-related bloodletting.
Over the past 17 years, 111 journalists have been killed in Mexico, 38 of them under the current government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Committee to Protect Journalists writes:
Mexican authorities must swiftly investigate the abduction and murder of Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro, and bring all of those responsible to justice,” said Alexandra Ellerbeck, CPJ’s program coordinator for North America, from New York. ”Criminals, sometimes connected with state actors, know that they can get away with killing journalists in Mexico because of chronic impunity for these crimes. Until that changes, the violence will continue.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the murder of freelance journalist Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro, who was found dead in San Luis Potosí, in Mexico, on 6 October.
Statement by The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Local statement by the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, on the murder of the journalist Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns murder of journalist Edgar Daniel Esqueda Castro in Mexico and urges to investigate the relation to his journalistic activity.