Couple who used Twitter murdered for drug report

A Mexican couple have been killed in apparent reprisal for their exposure on social media of drug trafficking activities.

The bodies of a man and a woman aged between 25 and 28, showing signs of torture, were found hanging under a footbridge in Nuevo Laredo in the northern state of Tamaulipas on the border with Texas. With the bodies, whose identity was not immediately disclosed, there were placards signed with the letter Z, a reference to the Los Zetas drug cartel, and containing threats and warnings that the same thing could happen to anyone else using Twitter to expose drug trafficking. This is one of the social networks the drug traffickers also use to communicate their criminal activity.

The Inter American Press Association, the hemispheric press group, condemned the killings. Gonzalo Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, called on Mexican officials to “give as much priority to this case as to those of professional journalists who are murdered because of the work they do.” He is president of the association.

“It is necessary to defend every statement, opinion or expression, whether through traditional news media or the new technological media, and this defense should be a commitment that all of us – society at large and the press – have to make together,” he said. “We are all aware of the importance that social networks have for the dissemination of thought and, as in this case, for denunciations and transmission of information, for which reason they should be protected as genuine news media.”

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