Mexican newspaper calls on kidnappers to release journalist

Mexico City, Feb 6 (EFE).- Mexico's Notisur newspaper on Thursday called on the kidnappers of reporter Gregorio Jimenez de la Cruz to return him "home safe and sound."

Jimenez de la Cruz, a police reporter for Notisur and the Liberal del Sur newspaper, was abducted outside his residence in Villa Allende, a town in the Gulf state of Veracruz, on Wednesday.

The reporter did not do "anything to anyone to deserve an attack of this magnitude," Notisur said in an editorial.

Gunmen grabbed Jimenez de la Cruz on Wednesday morning outside his house in Villa Allende, which is near the city of Coatzacoalcos.

Jimenez de la Cruz is "a man of humble origins" and an "efficient reporter," Notisur said.

His kidnapping "seriously and deeply cuts us" and is an attack on "all of us at Notisur, his editorial home, as well as at Diario El Liberal and En La Red," the newspaper said.

The public criticism of the kidnapping "is rooted in the simple and clear fact that we journalists are not, by definition, anyone's enemies," Notisur said.

The kidnappers should understand that "they have made a mistake with regard to the person and his work," the newspaper said. "We want him alive. We need him. We want him returned home safe and sound."

Jimenez de la Cruz was kidnapped as he returned home after taking his children to school, Notisur representative Sayda ChiƱas Cordova told Efe on Wednesday.

He had reported in the past few days on a wave of kidnappings in Allende, which is separated from Coatzacoalcos by a river, the newspaper executive said.

PEN Club Mexico, meanwhile, condemned Jimenez de la Cruz's kidnapping and called on officials, especially those in Veracruz, to find the reporter.

"Eight journalists were deprived of their freedom in Veracruz state last year," the press rights group said.

PEN Club International, founded in 1921, is an organization of writers and journalists who promote freedom of expression through more than 144 chapters in over 100 countries.

The Zetas drug cartel, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, and other gangs operate in Veracruz's oil-producing region.

Nine journalists have been murdered, at least three have gone missing and about a dozen others have left Veracruz since 2011 due to the drug-related violence in the state.

A total of 87 journalists have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, making it the most dangerous country in Latin America for members of the media, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said.