Afrique Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Mexico14 November 2008

Journalist murdered by drug gang in Ciudad Juarez

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its dismay at the murder of journalist Armando Rodriguez, of El Diario, the largest privately-owned daily in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, who was shot dead outside his home yesterday.

Rodriguez, aged 40, became the latest victim in a bloody war between the country’s major drug cartels which is centred on Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua State, with more than 1,300 casualties since the start of the year.

The journalist, a crime specialist for the past 14 years, was leaving his home to drive his eight year old daughter to school when an unidentified gunman ambushed and shot him dead at point blank range before running to a nearby vehicle where accomplices were waiting.

Editor of El Diario, Pedro Torres, told Reporters Without Borders that Rodriguez had received a threatening message on his mobile phone in February 2008 telling him to “tone it down”. As a result, he was transferred to El Paso for two months for his safety but on his return he had insisted on resuming work without any special protection.

“First of all we want to voice our solidarity with Armando Rodriguez’s family in their grief for this vile crime that plunges Mexico yet further into the terror of the war of the cartels,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“This crime specialist was in the front line of this savage conflict, which has made Mexico one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists”.

“We welcome the authorities’ decision to take on this case through the federal prosecutor’s office. We hope that the inquiry will swiftly identify the killers and those who sent them, thus showing the government’s determination to effectively fight the impunity that sadly so often prevails in Mexico”, it concluded.

The journalist’s colleagues are convinced that the murder was linked to his work but have not been able to link it to any particular reports. However Carlos Huerta Munoz, a reporter on the local daily El Norte, pointed out that Rodriguez had on the previous day reported on the killing of two local police officers. A severed head had also been found on 6 November on a monument in the Journalist’s Square in the centre of Ciudad Juarez, which the city’s media took to be a direct threat against them.

In this country
27 May - Mexico
Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
5 May - Mexico
Journalist at odds with local officials gunned down in Durango state
6 March - Mexico
Suspect arrested in photographer’s murder but motive vague
25 February - Mexico
Young radio reporter gunned down in Veracruz state for unclear reasons
22 January - Mexico
Self-censorship, exile or certain death : the choice faced by journalists in Ciudad Juárez

in the annual report
Mexico - Annual Report 2008
Mexico - Annual report 2007
Mexico - Annual report 2006

14 March 2008 - Cuba
No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
Paramilitary "black eagles" poised to swoop down on press

Americas press releases
3 June - United States
President Obama urged to raise freedom of expression in his Cairo speech
29 May - Venezuela
Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
20 May - Cuba
Anyone can browse the Internet... unless they are Cuban
15 May - Cuba
Journalist gets three-year jail sentence
15 May - Colombia
Former intelligence officials leak list of news media and journalists whose phones were tapped

Americas archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Sign the petitions
Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
Fabio Prieto Llorente
United States
Chauncey Bailey
A petition to Raúl Castro