Investigation Into Journalists Murder Continues

With all the news surrounding the jailing, murder and disappearances of journalists lately, it’s refreshing to have some good news to report. Reporters Without Borders announced today that there’s progress in the investigation into newspaper reporter Eliseo Barrón Hernández's murder on May 25th, which occurred in the north-central state of Durango, Mexico.

Five presumed members of Zetas, a paramilitary group involved in extortion and drug-trafficking, who were arrested on June 6th, have confessed to killing him with the aim of pressuring the local press to censor itself. Barrón was a crime reporter for the Milenio Torreón daily.

The five detainees are José Pedro Jauregui Jiménez, Raúl Francisco Rodríguez Valderrama, Víctor Alfredo López Ramírez, Oscar Cárdenas Castillo and Israel Sánchez Jaimes. Sánchez has allegedly confessed to firing the shot that killed Barrón on the orders of Zetas chief Lucio "Lucifer" Fernández, who was reportedly angered by the media's coverage of his activities.

"The confessions tend to confirm that Barrón was murdered because of his work as a reporter or, worse still, was sacrificed in order to terrorize his fellow journalists," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is important that the federal-level investigation should continue and should try to shed light on the accomplices that the killers may have had, especially as Barrón had been covering police corruption."

Since 2000, the number of journalists murdered in Mexico is 49. What’s important about this case is that since almost all of these murders are still unpunished although the identity of the masterminds is known in some cases, this provides a good opportunity to show that the murder of journalists cannot continue without impunity.