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A radio announcer dedicated to fighting organised crime in his community was killed last week in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico, report the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET) and regional and international press freedom groups.

Alejandro Zenón Fonseca Estrada was putting up anti-crime posters in the city of Villahermosa on 23 September when four unidentified men in a van shot him. He died in hospital the next day. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), one of the posters read, "No to kidnappings", while another declared support for Tabasco Governor Andrés Granier's campaign against crime.

Fonseca was well known for "El Padrino" ("The Godfather"), his morning radio programme on EXA FM geared toward young listeners. According to CEPET, Fonseca often put up posters in different parts of the city, as part of his campaign against violence in Tabasco.

Mexico ranks 10th on CPJ's Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalists are slain on a recurring basis and governments consistently fail to solve the crimes.

Under current law, state authorities generally investigate attacks on journalists. Because of the poor record of successful prosecutions, just this month the Mexican Congress promised to present a bill that would make crimes against journalists a federal offence.

But according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), neither federal nor state investigators had contacted the station in the 24 hours after the murder.

"The lack of any immediate reaction from the police and judicial authorities is? incomprehensible," RSF said. "Without waiting for the bill's final approval, the federal authorities should demonstrate their support for EXA FM, journalists and the Fonseca family by solving this case."

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places for journalists in Latin America, CPJ says. In the past five years, as the war between powerful drug cartels has intensified, local journalists who report on organised crime and the drug trade have become targets. According to CPJ, 21 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, seven of them directly for their work. Since 2005, seven others have gone missing. Their stories have been documented in a new CPJ report, "The Disappeared", available here:

Visit these links:
- CPJ:
- CPJ Impunity Index:
- RSF:
- IPYS (email): postmaster (@)
(30 September 2008)

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