Mexico: Journalist reported missing in Sinaloa

Mario Alberto Crespo Ayón, an independent journalist from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, has been reported missing by his family members since 3 December.

According to the Uno TV news website, Mario Alberto was in Mazatlán covering news through a local news agency for that national television network.

Before working for Uno TV, Mario Alberto had been a reporter for various media outlets in Sinaloa, where he covered events related to public safety.

Mario Alberto did not do investigative journalism and did not publish news that he considered sensitive. In an interview conducted by ARTICLE 19, the journalist’s partner Anna Vilchis said that “he covered general and cultural news for the agency”.

Anna Vilchis, the partner of Mario Alberto Crespo, the journalist who went missing in Sinaloa

In 2014, ARTICLE 19 has documented 12 attacks on Sinaloa-based media and journalists, including two murders. Moreover, two arbitrary detentions, five physical assaults, two acts of intimidation and one threat have been reported. In eight cases, the perpetrators were public officials. The perpetrator of the two murders has not been identified.

“A journalist’s disappearance is one of the most serious attacks on freedom of expression because it not only deprives the victim of his or her freedom, but also leaves society without a news alternative,” said Darío Ramírez, ARTICLE 19’s Director in Mexico.

Over an 11-year period, ARTICLE 19 has documented the disappearance of 17 Mexican journalists, with the highest number of cases occurring in the states of Veracruz and Michoacán (four in each).

ARTICLE 19 considers that the disappearance of Mario Alberto Crespo warrants the transfer of jurisdiction, as foreseen in Article 73 of Section XXI of the Constitution, to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) of the Office of the Mexican Attorney-General so that it can investigate these events, and it does not rule out that the victim’s job may have been a cause of his disappearance.