27 September 2011


Journalist reported missing in Veracruz

Incident details


Gabriel Manuel Fonseca Hernández, Journalist

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(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico City, 23 September 2011 - Journalist Gabriel Manuel Fonseca Hernández, a 19-year-old reporter who covered the police beat for the newspaper "El Mañanero" in the town of Acayucan, Veracruz, has been missing since Sunday 18 September, say his family and colleagues.

According to Marco Fonrouge, the editor of "El Mañanero", Fonseca was last seen on Saturday 17 September when he was at the newspaper's office to pick up his paycheque. Witnesses confirmed they saw him in the El Hato neighbourhood of Acayucan on Saturday afternoon, but since then he has not picked up calls to his cellphone.

Juan Fonseca Aguirre, the reporter's father, inquired about his son's whereabouts with his friends and the local authorities and hospitals. On Wednesday 21 September, he filed a missing persons report in which he said that he had lost contact with his son as of the previous Saturday.

Fonseca had previously worked for the "Diario de Acayucan" and "La Verdad de Jáltipan". According to Fonrouge, Fonseca covered the police beat, but he avoided topics clearly related to organised crime.

Fonseca is the second journalist to go missing this year. Journalist Noel López Olguín was also kidnapped in the same town in Veracruz on 8 March 2011; his body was found three months later.

Recently the cartoonist Rafael Pineda, also known as Rapé, publicised his decision to leave Veracruz because of insecurity and a lack of freedom that affected his ability to carry out his work. He held the state government responsible for any harm that might come to him and his family. Meanwhile, several journalists with the national news media reported that they have been harassed by state police investigators while documenting violent incidents.

ARTICLE 19 expresses solidarity with Fonseca's family and friends. The organisation demands that the Veracruz state prosecutor, Reynado Escobar, take the necessary steps to find the reporter and that Governor Javier Duarte guarantee freedom of expression in the state, in accordance with international agreements. At the same time, ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities responsible for journalists' safety to quickly respond and protect journalists.


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