Colombian and Mexican authorities are investigating two separate incidents involving the kidnapping and murder of journalists working in their nations.
In Xalapa, the capital of Mexico's Gulf state of Veracruz, police found the body of investigative journalist Regina Martínez Pérez, who was known for her in-depth reporting on the drug cartels for the national magazine Proceso.
Meanwhile, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday asked the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to immediately release French journalist Romeo Langlois, who was taken on Saturday. Langlois was preparing a report on drug trafficking for the France 24 network.
The FARC acknowledged that it was holding Langlois as "a prisoner of war."
"We want to tell the FARC to free this journalist as soon as possible because, among other things, we understand that he has been wounded," Santos said.
Thirty-five-year-old Langlois, who has lived in Colombia for 12 years, was taken in Caquetá department after he was trapped in a skirmish between the FARC and the Colombian army in the jungle, Reuters reported. The French government has also demanded that the FARC release Langlois.
From Washington, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) insisted that Mexican police conduct a thorough investigation into Martínez Pérez's murder. "Mexican authorities must break the deadly cycle of impunity in crimes against the press by fully investigating this murder and bringing those responsible to justice," said Carlos Lauría, the CPJ program coordinator for the Americas.
Martínez's head and ribs were badly beaten before she was strangled to death, Veracruz state governor Amadeo Flores Espinoza said on Sunday, adding that her cellphone and computer had been stolen.
In the week before her murder, Martínez had covered the arrest of a high-ranking leader of the Zetas, the arrests of nine police officers charged with working for the cartel, and a story about a local mayor who was arrested with other alleged cartel gunmen following a shootout with the Mexican army.
Proceso stated on its website that the state government was granting the magazine staff access to any information regarding the investigation. However, Proceso executives said they were skeptical that the investigation would be carried out thoroughly because of the rampant corruption in law enforcement.
Last year, four journalists were murdered in Veracruz, which is considered one of Mexico's most dangerous states for reporters. According to a CPJ survey, more than 40 journalists have disappeared or been murdered in Mexico since 2006. Mexico ranks eighth in the CPJ list of countries with high impunity.