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World February 27, 2008
Liars Without Borders
By Kirill Pankratov Browse author
Page 2 of 4

García, a reporter for the Veracruz-based publication Testimonio and local correspondent for the Mexico City weekly Alarma, was found murdered near the town of Mandinga y Matoza.

Traveling by motorcycle from Veracruz to the nearby city of Alvarado, García was run down by a stolen car with Mexico City plates at 1 p.m., the Mexican press reported. Unidentified assailants shot García while he was on the ground, twice in the head and at least four times in the chest, according to press reports and a CPJ source…

García had reported for 13 years on violent crime and drug trafficking in Veracruz, a colleague told CPJ. García’s last report, published a week before his death in the bimonthly Testimonio, detailed the activities of a gang of thieves who stole containers coming into the port of Veracruz, the colleague said. Other reporters in Veracruz said that García had previously received death threats on his cell phone.

And now the "unconfirmed" case, also in Mexico:

The body of Enrique Perea Quintanilla, a longtime police reporter who became editor of a crime magazine, was found at 2 p.m. on the side of a road about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Chihuahua, Eduardo Esparza, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutor, told CPJ. Perea was shot once in the head and once in the back with a .45-caliber gun.

Perea was editor of a monthly magazine, Dos Caras, Una Verdad (Two Sides, One Truth), which specialized in reporting on closed murder cases and local drug trafficking. He had worked for 20 years as a police reporter for the dailies El Heraldo and El Diario until becoming the magazine’s editor in 2005, his former colleague and editor at El Heraldo, César Ibarra, told CPJ…

Esparza said the state prosecutor’s office believed the murder was the work of organized crime. While the motive was not immediately clear, he said, Perea’s journalism was one of the investigation’s leads.

The difference between most of these "confirmed" and "unconfirmed" cases is far from obvious – almost all of them can be attributed to the journalists’ work and their publications.

Similarly, In Colombia, for example, the pattern is almost always the same:

Two armed motorcyclists shot Palacios, 55, a veteran radio news host, as he drove to work around 5:30 a.m. in the city of Cúcuta... Palacios, who hosted the morning program "Radio Periódico El Viento" on Radio Lemas, was shot three times in the chest

…shot by unidentified gunmen on February 4 in the northwestern city of Montería, Córdoba province."

…shot three times by a masked assailant outside his home in Yumbo, in southwestern Valle del Cauca province, at around 9:45 p.m. Witnesses said the assailant had been waiting in the bushes behind Sánchez’s home.

But the CPJ list for Russia included, for example, Yury Shchekochikhin, who died in 2003 from acute allergic reaction, in somewhat suspicious circumstances. Despite this he was declared a "confirmed" case by the CPJ. Also placed in the "confirmed" category was Ivan Safronov of Kommersant, who fell out of a window in February 2007. Whether it was a suicide or a foul play (and whether it was related to his work) is still not clear, but it was suspicious (he had been working on a story about secret Russian weapons sales to Syria). Another reporter included in the database as "confirmed" was Ilya Zimin, who was murdered after making homosexual advances on a Moldovan migrant worker whom he met in a bar and brought back to his apartment. Pavel Makeyev was fatally struck by a car in 2005 – yet he is included in the "confirmed" category of journalists murdered on the job. Vyacheslav Ifranov died in his garage from monoxide poisoning without any evidence of a foul play – yet he is also in the CPJ list.

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