On Thursday, prosecutors said that three journalists and two of their family members had been kidnapped by armed individuals in a violent state in Mexico. Outside of conflict zones, press organizations claim that Mexico is one of the most hazardous nations in the world for journalists.
The five individuals were taken from Taxco, a historical town popular with visitors, between Sunday and Wednesday, according to the southern Guerrero state prosecutor’s office. A husband-and-wife pair of journalists was taken on Wednesday, while another journalist was seized on Sunday together with his wife and adult son.
The writer in Taxco, Marco Antonio Toledo, was told not to publish a piece by a drug gang after receiving threats earlier this year, according to the online news site The Afternoon Chronicle in the adjacent city of Chilpancingo. Toledo has just published a report on a local corruption issue as well.
The news website stated the region “has been silenced by the drug cartels” and urged police to locate Toledo.
As to the new site, “in the past, other journalists have been abducted by drug cartels… and have banished themselves to other parts of the state and other states to save themselves.”
Toledo, his wife, and their kid were reportedly taken from his house on Sunday by at least five armed persons, according to the press freedom organization Article 19. Since then, no one has heard from them.
According to the organization, Silvia Nayssa Arce and Alberto Sánchez have been recognized as the journalist couple abducted. They were employed by RedSiete, another online news outlet. The kidnappings have not yet been covered by that publication.
Taxco has a long history of being recognized for its vibrant Easter week festivities, colonial architecture, and silversmithing. However, the city has turned into a battlefield in recent years as rival drug gangs compete for the lucrative business of demanding security money from nearby companies.
Turf wars between the Tlacos gang and the murderous La Familia Michoacana cartel are apparently ongoing in Taxco, some 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Mexico City.
Since a day in early 2012 when the remains of three news photographers were discovered placed in plastic bags in a canal in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz, it was one of the greatest mass assaults on reporters in one location in Mexico. Previously, three journalists were murdered or vanished in the same city over one week in June 2011. The murders were attributed to the once dominant Zetas drug organization.
In Ciudad Juarez, a border city in Mexico, a newspaper photographer was discovered shot to death in his vehicle last week. His passing was the sixth journalistic death in Mexico thus far in 2023.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded at least 54 journalist fatalities in Mexico in the last five years alone.