“We Demand the Return of the Kidnaped Mexican Journalist” (EL PAÍS)

This article was published in El País on 10 February 2014. It has been translated without permission for the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).

“We demand the return of the kidnaped Mexican journalist.”

By El País Mexico Reporters

– Colleagues from around the world show their support via social media for abducted reporter Gregorio Jiménez

Five days algo some gunmen took journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz from his home in the Mexican state of Veracruz. His whereabouts have been unknown since then. Colleagues across the world have expressed their solidarity with his situation and that of local journalists whose reporting threatens criminal groups. Using hashtag #QueremosVivoaGoyo,  thousands of messages have flooded social media, demanding his freedom and insisting that the authorities fulfil their responsibility to find him using all the means at their disposal. In the last decade, 29 reporters have been killed in Mexico. No case has resulted in a guilty sentence.

Goyo Jiménez (40) works as a freelance reporter in the city of Coatzacoalcos – in southeast Mexico – for two regional dailies, Diario Notisur and El Liberal del Sur. But the outpouring of solidarity from the media has quickly gone beyond the state’s borders. On Sunday, messages multiplied on Twitter and Facebook, many of them directed at Javier Duarte, governor of Veracruz, and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. The messages called for colleagues to post pictures of Jiménez and videos demanding his release. Journalists have become protagonists in a news story demanding Goyo’s wherabouts, but they also want to stop the persecution and harassment of their colleagues. Pictures began to arrive from farther afield than Coatzalcoalcos: not only Juárez, Tamaulipas, and Mexico City… but also from Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, Germany, the United States and Egypt.

This Monday, the mobilization moved from the web, pushing out onto the streets, particularly in some Veracruz cities. Coatzacoalcos, Xalapa – the state capital – and Veracruz, among the most well known places. The web campaign has not stopped and the hashtag has turned into #HastaQueAparezcaGoyo (Until Goyo Reappears), a phrase that distills the reasons for the protest. Whether on the web or in the streets, the campaign will continue even when the news is part of yesterday’s paper.

Periodistas de a pie, a grass-roots association of Mexican reporters, has put its resources behind the case. The organisation has distributed the journalist’s image on a red background bearing the words, “We want Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz back alive.” Journalists from Peru, Chile, Ecuador and El Salvador, among other countries, responded to the call. They posted photos of themselves beside Goyo’s image. The lack of safety for reporters is an endemic problem throughout many Latin American countries.

Argentine reporters at Infojus Noticias posted a photo of themselves with each member holding up the Mexican reporter’s image and a message of support: “We want Goyo back alive.” Carlos Dada, an editor at El Faro; Alejandra Xanic, a Pulitzer prize-winning Mexican journalist; Jacobo García, El Mundo’s correspondent; and Peruvian journalist Jacqueline Fowks, an EL PAÍS contributor, voiced their support for the campaign. Father Alejandro Solalinde, the Mexican priest dedicated to the protection of Central American migrants crossing the country to reach the United States, is yet one more person who has put his voice to the campaign.

Article 19 – an organisation that documents abuses and threats against media workers – issued a press release demanding that the Federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) must take charge of investigating Jiménez’s disappearance. The organisation also asked for measures to protect reporters in the area “after signs from a group of the region’s reporters confirming that, in the aftermath of Gregorio Jiménez’s enforced disappearance, adequate conditions do not exist to practice journalism.”

EL PAÍS’s team of Mexico reporters has joined the campaign with a video in support of Gregorio Jiménez.

Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English. Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons.

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