Reporters Without Borders

Journalist found shot dead in Michoacán state

Journalist found shot dead in Michoacán state

Published on Wednesday 7 July 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders condemns the murder Hugo Alfredo Olivera Cartas, a journalist based in Apatzingán, in the central state of Michoacán, whose body was found yesterday morning. He had been shot three times. Olivera’s death brings the number of journalists killed in Mexico since the start of the year to eight, or perhaps nine.

Aged 27, Olivera was the editor of the Apatzingán-based El Día de Michoacán daily and ADN news agency was the local correspondent of the state-wide La Voz de Michoacán daily. According to local press reports, he went missing on the evening of 5 July after getting a phone call and setting off to cover a reported accident.

His body was found with three gunshot wounds to the head in his pickup truck at about 3 a.m. yesterday. The office of the Michoacán state attorney-general’s office reported later that it had learned that the offices of El Día de Michoacán had been broken into and computer hard disks containing all of its files had been stolen.

Olivera, who was also a correspondent of the Quadratín news agency, had specialised in covering crime in the Apatzingán area for the past two years. Married and the father of children aged 5 years and 5 months, he reportedly called his wife shortly after leaving the newspaper and told her to “take care of the children.”

Although the motive has not yet been determined, there are good reasons for thinking it was linked to his work as a journalist. Local press reports quoted Michoacán governor Leonel Godoy Rangel as saying it had the hallmarks of an organised crime killing.

Last February, Olivera filed a complaint with the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) accusing members of the federal police of physically attacking him while he was covering a murder.

His murder brings the total number of journalists killed in Mexico since 2000 to 65. Another 11 journalists have gone missing since 2003.

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