By: E&P Staff
A Mexican newspaper investigative crime reporter has been missing since Jan. 20 — the day his paper, the daily Tabasco Hoy in Villahermosa published his story on local drug trafficking.
Two press-freedom organizations, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), urged Mexican authorities to investigate the disappearance of the reporter, Rodolfo Rinc?n Taracena. The office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists is investigating the disappearance, it told CPJ.
“Recent articles by Rodolfo Rinc?n Taracena point to a link between his disappearance and his professional activities”, RSF said. “The federal and Tabasco state authorities must rapidly join forces to find this journalist safe and well.”
Rinc?n was last seen leaving the newsroom around 7 p.m., CPJ reported, citing a colleague who asked not to be identified. The reported left personal belongings and a camera at his desk, and told his editor he would return shortly, the source told CPJ. He hasn’t been seen since.
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Rinc?n’s wife and colleagues reported him missing to local authorities.
CPJ said it was independently investigating whether his disappearance is related to his journalistic work. It noted that in addition to his investigation into local drug dealers, Tabasco Hoy, the day after Rinc?n’s disappearance, published another of his articles, this one about a local band of ATM muggers.
CPJ, quoting an anonymous source on the paper, said Rinc?n received telephone threats last year, but did not seem worried by them.
Two other Mexican journalists remain missing, CPJ noted.
Rafael Ortiz Mart?nez, a reporter for the daily Z?calo in Monclova, disappeared last July 8. “He had reported on the prevalence of prostitution in Monclova, the resulting spread of HIV/AIDS, and its effect on families,” CPJ said. Alfredo Jim?nez Mota, a crime reporter for the El Imparcial in Hermosillo, disappeared on April 2, 2005. CPJ said he had recently investigated drug-trafficking families in the Mexico’s northern region, and that Sonora prosecutors have linked his disappearance with his journalistic work.