Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Stop the Presses

National Hispanic Media Week is apparently over.

A news reporter who wrote about violent drug crimes has been strangled in the northern Mexican state of Durango, authorities said Tuesday.

El Tiempo de Durango journalist Jose Bladimir Antuna was kidnapped Monday morning, said Ruben Lopez, spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office. Authorities found his body that night in a vacant lot in the state capital, about 400 miles southwest of Laredo, Texas.

State authorities are investigating the murder. Lopez would not specify whether they suspected connections with organized crime.

But Antuna had told his colleagues at the newspaper that he had received multiple telephone death threats, El Tiempo's business manager Fernando Mendoza told The Associated Press. And Mendoza said investigators found a message beside Antuna's body, claiming he was killed for giving information to the military.

Antuna filed a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office five months ago, saying gunmen had fired at his house. Lopez said investigators concluded that the gunfire was not aimed at Antuna, and that stray bullets from a fight outside had struck his house.

…Reporters Without Borders issued a statement on Tuesday complaining that Durango state authorities knew Antuna was receiving death threats but failed to protect him.

"It is unacceptable. Durango state, a bastion of organized crime where there is complete impunity, has become a torment for those defending a free press and openness in news and information," the statement said.

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