A Mexican journalist who was kidnapped in May in the western state of Michoacan has been found dead, the sixth reporter killed this year in the country, officials announced.
A body discovered on June 14 was identified through DNA testing as that of Salvador Adame, a local television journalist who had been missing since he was abducted by gunmen last month, Jose Godoy, Michoacan chief prosecutor, told journalists on Monday.
Mexico has been the deadliest country for reporters in 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
When Adame disappeared on May 18, CPJ issued a statement calling for his immediate release.
According to the news website Expansion, armed men forced Adame into a four-wheel drive vehicle and was driven away.
Adame worked as the director of the local television station 6TV and had been working as a journalist for 20 years when he was abducted.
In April, Adame and his wife, Frida Urtiz, were detained by police while covering a demonstration, according to CPJ. He also told CPJ that police beat him and his wife, while municipal officials looked on.
Series of murders
Also in May, Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialised in covering drug trafficking and organised crime, was murdered in the state of Sinaloa.
In April, veteran reporter Maximino Rodriguez Palacios was “shot and killed” in the Baja California peninsula. Palacios also covered the police and crime beat.
Three other journalists covering organised crime in Mexico have been killed since March 3 – in Chihuahua, Guerrero and Veracruz states, according to officials and media groups.
In early April, newspaper Norte de Ciudad Juarez announced it would cease publishing after 27 years in existence because of increasing insecurity.
Several journalists have also been wounded in armed attacks while others have fled their homes due to threats, the CPJ said.
In a 2017 report titled “No Excuse”, journalist Adela Navarro Bello wrote for the CPJ that “covering corruption in Mexico means living with impunity”.
“Between 2006 and 2016, 21 journalists were murdered with complete impunity in Mexico, putting the country sixth on CPJ’s annual index that measures cases where perpetrators remain unpunished,” Bello wrote.
“The system seems to be corrupt down to its very foundation; either that or it’s simply incapable of achieving justice.”
The overall number of murder investigations in Mexico also hit record levels in May as criminal violence increased dramatically since last year.
There were 2,186 murder probes last month, the highest for any month going back to 1997, according to government statistics.