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Monday, 18 June 2012

UPDATE: Missing Mexican Reporter Says She is Safe but under Threat

IPI Calls on Government to Clarify Disappearance and Offer Protection 

By: Scott Griffen, IPI Associate

Members of the "Yo soy 132" (I Am #132) movement march during a protest against the Mexican television, to demand fair broadcasting and electoral information in Guadalajara city, Mexico on June 10, 2012. Mexico will hold presidential elections next July 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Hector Guerrer.

VIENNA, June 18, 2012 - A Mexican crime reporter who mysteriously vanished last week along with her two-year-old son called into a local radio program on Friday to report that the two were well but that she was in fear for their safety.

“My son and I are well, but for our own security I cannot say where I am,” Hypathia Stephanía Rodríguez Cardoso told Radio Formula in a “trembling voice”, EFE news agency reported.  She also declined to give any details about her June 8 disappearance, the circumstances of which have not been made public.

Cardoso’s Twitter feed over the weekend appeared to give conflicting information about her situation.  Yesterday, Cardoso tweeted that “help had arrived” and that she and her son would be sleeping that night in a “safe place”. Hours later, however, she posted that “this is not over” and that she hoped “it was all a bad dream”.

Speaking with Radio Formula on Friday, Cardoso said that she had not received any assistance from Mexican authorities, emphasising: “The only thing that we are asking for is the help of federal authorities to guarantee our safety, the protection of the Mexican state for me and my son.”

Announcing the news shortly thereafter on his Twitter feed, Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa promised that Cardoso “will have the protection of the [Attorney General’s office].  

Cardoso told the station that she had decided to phone in because of widespread concern about her well-being, adding that she had not contacted her family due to safety reasons.  

International Press Institute (IPI) Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We are greatly relieved to hear that Stephanía Cardoso is alive and apparently in a secure location.  However, our concern for her safety and that of her son has not abated.  The federal government must clarify the circumstances behind Stephanía’s disappearance, and heed her call for protection.”


VIENNA, June 11, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) this morning called on Mexican authorities to immediately investigate last Friday's mysterious disappearance of a Mexican crime journalist and her two-year-old son.

Hypathia Stephanía Rodríguez Cardoso, who works for Zócalo de Saltillo newspaper in the state of Coahuila, was last seen attending a celebration with her son and several colleagues late on Thursday night in honour of Freedom of Expression Day, according to Mexican media sources. She reportedly telephoned colleagues just after 2:00 a.m. Friday morning to say she had safely arrived home, but did not show up for work later that day.

Concerned family members who had come to look for Rodríguez Cardoso found her home in disarray, news reports said. A camera belonging to the journalist had been smashed and her car was missing.

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We are extremely concerned for the well-being of Stephanía Cardoso and her son. While the reason for her disappearance is not yet known, Mexican journalists, particularly those who cover organised crime and police activity, are being targeted because of their work with chilling frequency. Local, state, and federal officials must act with the utmost urgency to find Stephanía and her son and ensure their safety.”

WAN-IFRA Director of Press Freedom, Alison Meston said: "It is the duty of the state to guarantee the safety of media professionals in a democracy. Authorities need to put an immediate end to the wave of violence currently curtailing the free flow of information and freedom of expression in Mexico."

After the journalist’s mother officially reported her daughter and grandson missing to authorities on Saturday, Coahuila governor Rubén Moreira Valdez ordered state prosecutor Homero Ramos Gloria to open an investigation, Zócalo de Saltillo and Proceso reported.

Rodríguez Cardoso’s disappearance comes less than three weeks after a crime journalist in Sonora, Marco Antonio Ávila García, was kidnapped and later found tortured and killed. Five journalists have been murdered in Mexico since April 28, including well-known Proceso investigative reporter Regina Martínez.

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