While mainstream media in the U.S. claim to be under attack over memes and the term fake news, eight Mexican journalists have been murdered by drug cartels for doing their jobs. The reporters worked under constant threats and danger due to the instability brought by the widespread presence of transnational drug organizations, commonly known as cartels, and the government of Mexico’s inability or unwillingness to control the violence. Cartels do everything in their power to silence journalists reporting on crime and the corruption that fuels it.
Salvador Adame — The director for a local news station called 6TV in Michoacan was kidnapped on May 18 near the rural community of Nueva Italia. After more than a month without answers, Mexican authorities confirmed that Adame was murdered and incinerated by cartel gunmen. Adame’s disappearance sparked outcry from colleagues and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City alike.
Jonathan Rodríguez Córdova — He was murdered on May 15 in Autlán, Jalisco, when gunmen opened fire as he was traveling in a vehicle with his mother Sonia Córdova, an executive with the local news publication El Costeño de Autlán. Jonathan worked as a reporter for the family owned business, which reported on local news and crime. Sonia Córdova was seriously wounded during the attack that killed her son.
Javier Valdez — He was murdered on May 15, in Culiacan, Sinaloa, when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle he was driving. He was shot 12 times by an assailant using a suppressed weapon. Valdez co-founded Riodoce, the only independent newspaper in Culiacan and La Jornada. He was one of Mexico’s best-known reporters covering the drug war and related violence. In 2011, Valdez won the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in 2011 for his extensive coverage of drug trafficking and organized crime. Valdez also published a book last year about the dangers facing journalists who report on the plague of crime and corruption in Mexico.
Filiberto Álvarez Landeros — He was murdered on April 29 by gunmen as he was leaving the radio station that he worked at. Mexican state officials claimed the murder was not tied to his activities as a journalist–a claim that human rights groups object to. Álvarez Landeros was the host of a radio program called “Poemas y Cantares”, at a radio station called La Senal de Jojutla, in Tlaquitenango, Morelos.
Maximino Rodriguez Palacios — He was murdered on April 15, when gunmen opened fire on him at a supermarket in Baja California. Rodriguez Palacios came out of retirement to become the crime reporter for the Colectivo Pericu blog. Rodriguez Palacios previously worked many years in journalism and public relations for state government. In Rodriguez Palacios’ last report, he received five comments, four which were threats against him.
Miroslava Breach – She was murdered on March 23, by gunmen from the La Linea faction of the Juarez Cartel as she was preparing to take her children to school in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. One of Breach’s children was also seated in the vehicle with her but was unharmed. Breach reported extensively on organized drug trafficking and corruption for a national newspaper, La Jornada, and a regional one, El Norte de Juarez. The gunman left a note at the crime scene indicating that she was murdered for talking too much. The murder has since been linked to Breach’s work in exposing the relatives of a cartel boss trying to win a political office.
Ricardo Monlui — He was murdered on March 19 in the town of Yanga, Veracruz, as he was leaving a restaurant with his wife and child. His family was unharmed and it is believed that the gunman had been waiting for him, according to local police chief Carlos Samuel Hernandez. Monlui was the head of the Cordoba region’s press association and a columnist for El Sol de Cordoba. Monlui was the eleventh journalist to be murdered in six years in Veracruz.
Cecilio Pineda Brito — He was murdered on March 2 by a gunman who shot him 10 times while he was at a car wash waiting for his vehicle to be serviced in Guerrero. Pineda Brito worked for La Voz de Tierra Caliente and was also the founder. He was receiving numerous threats at the time and previously survived an assassination attempt in 2015.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)