The fate of a masked blogger has set Mexican social networking sites ablaze over the last couple of weeks, leaving behind a trail of mystery and confusion. A young anti-establishment blogger working under the name el5anto disappeared on 8 September, according to his Twitter account and reports from his blog colleagues. His blog and Twitter activities have all suspended since he vanished.
During the first week el5anto went missing, followers of his site announced that they would wait a few days to reveal information about the disappearance. The information has been released gradually over the last few days, but it is still sketchy. All that is known is that the blogger vanished on 8 September, after he delivered his last online video analysis. But investigating his disappearance has become a problem for many press freedom groups, because of lack of information. Only Reporters Without Borders has written a report. Nobody knew el5anto’s real name. He has a pseudonym, Ruy Salgado, known to his 50,000 twitter and blog followers.
Over the last few months, el5anto had reported on alleged irregularities and fraud in Mexico’s recent presidential elections. He reported on corruption within government institutions, and according to his colleagues, received contributions from people who worked for the same institutions. This explained the reason why all contributors to the blog never revealed their identities to each other and wore masks when they appeared on their web video programmes. Salgado said he was the target of threats in recent months.
Since his disappearance, his followers and blog colleagues have suggested that something may have happened to him, but nobody has provided any further information. In fact, his colleagues have been reluctant to release information. In their last communication they informed the public that his family was handling the case.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 27 journalists have been killed in Mexico for reasons linked to their work since 1992, and nine have disappeared since 2006. As social networking sites have mushroomed in Mexico, threats against bloggers and Twitter or Facebook users have also multiplied. There are at least five cases of social network users reported killed in the last two years, with only one confirmed as directly linked to her work.