Nobody knows where he is. Nobody knows who is responsible for his disappearance. There have been no public statements regarding any kind of progress made in the investigation. And patience is wearing thin. This is the message that colleagues of Salvador Adame, a journalist from Michoacán state, are sending to Mexican authorities five days after his disappearance.
On Monday, members of the local press took to the streets in Uruapan, in the state of Michoacán, to hold a silent protest over Adame’s kidnapping and the murder of journalists across the country. Seven reporters have been killed so far this year, two of them last week.
The journalist community in Michoacán has released a manifesto demanding the immediate return of Adame, unharmed, and protection measures for his family.
Adame, who is the director of the TV channel 6TV in the municipality of Nueva Italia, was abducted on Thursday afternoon by a group of armed men who forced him to climb into a dark vehicle. That was the last anyone has heard from him.
This is not the first time that the victim had been the target of violence
At the time of the abduction, it had been less than 24 hours since President Enrique Peña Nieto had pledged to reinforce security measures to ensure freedom of the press in Mexico. The government’s promises came after a tragic week for journalism in Mexico, marked by the murder of Javier Valdez, a well-known reporter from Sinaloa, as well as Jalisco journalist Jonathan Rodríguez.
Adame’s kidnapping underscores another aspect of press intimidation: forced disappearances. Article 19, a freedom of information advocacy group, notes that Mexico is the country with the highest number of missing journalists: 24 since 2003, for an average of two a year. The states of Tamaulipas (six), Michoacán (five), Veracruz (four) and Guerrero (two) have the worst record.
This group says that Mexican authorities have the obligation to find Adame alive.
The journalist community in Michoacán has produced a manifesto demanding the immediate return of Adame
Article 19 also notes that this is not the first time that the victim had been the target of violence. Adame himself complained that he had been beaten and arbitrarily detained by the police as he was covering a protest march in the town of Múgica, in March of last year. Adame had also received threats from organized crime, the last of which took place in September 2015. He had been deprived of his freedom three times in the last four years, according to the activist group.
Media in Michoacán and Article 19 are demanding fast-track introduction of security protocols that will guarantee reporter safety in the state, as well as a law to protect journalists.
State prosecutors on Monday issued a release reiterating their “commitment to keep focusing on the complaint in order to solve the case.” This agency added that it has informed federal prosecutors, but that it had no records of prior threats against Adame. In the meantime, there is still no trace of the victim or the kidnappers.
English version by Susana Urra.