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Veteran reporter slain

The decapitated body of Mexican journalist Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz was found on 26 July in Veracruz, report the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), ARTICLE 19 and other IFEX members. A journalist for more than 20 years, Ordaz de la Cruz reported on crime and security issues. IFEX members are calling on the state prosecutor to investigate the case and put in place mechanisms to protect her colleagues.

The journalist was abducted by armed men on 24 July. According to Index on Censorship, she had received death threats linked to her work, covering the police beat for the main Veracruz city newspaper, "Notiver".

She had worked closely with another "Notiver" journalist, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, a well known columnist and former assistant editor, for over 20 years. López Velasco was murdered in his home with his wife and photographer son on 20 June. Ordaz de la Cruz had reportedly been investigating the murder of her colleague, says Index.

The journalist's body was found with a note linking her murder to the López Velasco killing: "Friends also betray. Sincerely, Carranza." The chief suspect in the López Velasco case is former traffic police officer Juan Carlos Carranza Saavedra.

"Ordaz was one of those journalists who were exposed to danger because of their reporting specialty. At the same time, a link to organised crime obviously cannot be excluded in a state where three feared gangs, the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel and Michoacán's La Familia, operate," said Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Widely acknowledged as one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist, Mexico continues to be a harsh place for women journalists. ARTICLE 19 reported in June that Lydia Cacho, an investigative journalist, human rights defender and ARTICLE 19 trustee, had again received death threats as a result of her journalism. Cacho received death threats in 2005 after publishing a book linking authorities to child pornography. She recently published another book, "Servants of power: a journey into the heart of trafficking of women and girls in the world", which names public officials linked to organised crime networks.

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