NEW YORK—The abduction of journalist and director of 6TV Salvador Adame Pardo on May 18 is another grave example of the escalating dangers facing Mexican journalists in recent weeks and needs to be addressed urgently by authorities, PEN America said today.

Armed men abducted Adame around 7 pm outside a water purifying plant in Nueva Italia, Michoacan state. Seven days later, there is still no news or information on the reporter’s whereabouts. Having worked as a journalist for two decades, Adame had recently reported on local politics and current affairs as 6TV’s director. Though he had decided to avoid covering gang-related violence, fearing reprisals by criminal groups, his reports have been especially critical of municipal officials, according to colleagues. 

“This abduction, and the impunity with which it has been carried out, represents another nail in the coffin of free expression in Mexico, which has deteriorated dramatically with the murders of at least four journalists since March, ” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director of Free Expression Programs at PEN America. “We urge the Mexican authorities to address Salvador Adame Pardo’s abduction and to do everything in their power to ensure his safe and swift return.”

In the days following the kidnapping, the local community has called for the government to take action. A group of journalists from Uruapan protested Adame’s abduction in the city’s main square on Monday. On the same day, reporters from Tierra Caliente released a statement demanding that the security and justice departments locate and safely release Adame, and put an end to the deadly cycle of violence and impunity faced by so many Mexican reporters.  

Under President Enrique Peña Nieto over 20 journalists have been assassinated according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. On May 15 reporter and founder of Riodoce Javier Valdez, and Riodoce employee Jonathan Rodriguez were shot dead just hours apart; both men reported consistently on drug- and gang-related violence. In 2015, PEN America and partners published an open letter, signed by over 700 writers and cultural figures, calling on President Nieto to investigate this long string of murders and establish mechanisms to protect journalists’ lives. However, despite repeated promises, the Nieto administration has failed to address these attacks on journalism and free speech in a systematic and meaningful manner.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.