Global Voices

Salvador Adame Is the Seventh Journalist Murdered in Mexico in 2017

"Truth is not killed when a journalist is killed."
Salvador Adame. Imagen circulada ampliamente en Twitter.

Salvador Adame. Image widely circulated on Twitter.

The burned body of Salvador Adame, a journalist and founder of local news channel 6TV, was discovered in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, authorities announced on June 26:

Después de realizar la toma y cotejo de muestras que marca la ley en estos procedimientos, por parte de especialistas de la Dirección de Genética, las pruebas de ADN permitieron comprobar que estos restos corresponden a quien en vida se llamó a Salvador Adame Pardo.

After taking and comparing the fingerprint samples required by the law in these proceedings by specialists from the Genetics Direction, the DNA tests let us conclude that these remains belong to Salvador Adame Pardo, as he was called when he was alive.

Adame had been kidnapped by an armed group almost a month before, according to reports in the national newspaper La Jornada.

The region where his body was found is popularly known as Tierra Caliente (Hot Land), and is one of the most violent in Michoacán, a state that in the last few years has seen a disproportionate growth in criminality and accusations of collusion between the local government and organized crime.

Independent news outlet Animal Político reported that before his death Adame had received threats on several occasions, warning him to stop his work as a journalist. His wife Frida Urtiz said she felt enormous pressure as well because of the work she did with Adame:

Mi esposo y yo somos los dueños del canal, teníamos convenios de publicidad con el municipio de Múgica de difundir la labor que todas las administraciones tienen la obligación de hacerle saber a la ciudadanía y desistimos de ello ante la presión que recibíamos.

My husband and I are the owners of the news channel. We had publicity contracts with the municipality of Múgica to do the job that all administrations must do: inform citizens. We desisted because of the pressure we received.

A note published by 6TV itself described Adame this way:

El periodista, quien hace pocos más de un año fue sujeto de vejaciones policiales, mantuvo una directriz activa, crítica, sagaz, atrevida, desafiante, al escenario delictivo que prevalece en la zona, también conocida como Cuatro Caminos, corazón de la entidad y epicentro de interminables disputas gansteriles.

The journalist, who was subject of police harassment over a year ago, maintained an active, critic, astute, bold and brave leadership against the criminal atmosphere that prevailed in the area, also known as Cuatro Caminos, the heart of the state and the center of endless gang battles.

Adame is the seventh journalist murdered in Mexico in 2017, as human rights defender Cencos pointed out. They tweeted a GIF that explains how Adame was found, demands justice and concludes with the statement, “Truth is not killed when a journalist is killed”:

#SalvadorAdame is the seventh journalist that has been killed since the beginning of the year. We demand clarity and a stop to all aggression. #NoToSilence.

The impact of these attacks against journalists in Mexico goes beyond the reporters themselves. Frida Urtiz, for example, suffered grave health problems after the abduction of her husband.

Recently, a high representative of the Secretariat of the Interior, Roberto Campa, appeared to downplay the gravity of the situation when he said that compared to past administrations, this is not the the worst period of violence against reporters in Mexico.

It is true, however, that violence against those who practice journalism in Mexico is not something new. In 2015, journalist Isabel Uribe wrote:

En el periodismo mexicano la tinta segrega un constante olor a muerte, nueve periodistas asesinados en lo que va de 2015 confirman que México es uno de los lugares más peligrosos en todo el planeta para ejercer la profesión, una caja de pandora que esconde las más terribles atrocidades: agresiones, intimidaciones, tortura, desaparición, autocensura y muerte.

In Mexican journalism, the ink constantly smells of death. The assassination of nine journalists since the beginning of 2015 confirm how Mexico is one of the most dangerous places on the planet to practice this profession, a Pandora's box that hides the most horrific atrocities: aggression, intimidation, torture, forced disappearances, self-censorship and death.

It's sad to realize that someone could be killed while practicing his profession. #SalvadorAdame

Journalist Jenaro Villamil condemned the local government:

Another journalist killed. #SalvadorAdame. After weeks of being [forcefully] disappeared under Michoacan government's indolence.

The office in charge of protecting human rights in Mexico pressed other government institutions to act:

CDNH calls on authorities at all three levels of government to investigate and solve the murder of #SalvadorAdame.

Salvador Adame joins the list of journalists who have been assassinated in 2017, a list that includes Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez.

Originally published in Global Voices.

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