Crime reporter badly injured in shooting attack in Veracruz state

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Mexican authorities to quickly identify those responsible for the attempted murder of newspaper reporter Rodrigo Acuña Morales in the eastern state of Veracruz on 23 November, and to step up protection for journalists in this state, one of Mexico’s most dangerous regions for media personnel.

A crime and court reporter for the Voz de Tenayuca regional newspaper and editor of the Diario de Tepetzintla local online newspaper, Rodrigo Acuña Morales, 40, was returning to his home in the town of Tepetzintla with his one-year-old son when he was shot and wounded by two gunmen.

He was rushed in a critical condition to a hospital in the nearby city of Tuxpan, where he underwent an emergency operation for serious gunshot injuries to the lungs. Doctors later described his condition as stable.

The Veracruz political authorities have not yet issued any official statement about the shooting, but the Veracruz State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) announced that an investigation was under way and contacted Acuña’s family with the aim of providing assistance and protection.

“We call for a rapid and impartial investigation into this murder attempt and we ask the Veracruz authorities to guarantee the safety of this journalist and his family,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau.

“At least 23 journalists have been murdered in Veracruz state since 2000. It is clear that neither the federal nor local government has understood the gravity of this situation. There is an urgent need to step up protection for the region’s journalists and to identify and punish those responsible for the many attacks.”

In a report published in February 2017, entitled “Veracruz: journalists and the state of fear,” RSF provided a detailed account of the critical situation for journalists in Veracruz state. The most recent fatal victim was Leobardo Vázquez Atzin, who was gunned down outside his home in Gutiérrez Zamora, in the north of the state, on 21 March.

The journalist Ana Ledesma meanwhile miraculously escaped a murder attempt in Cozumel, in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, on 22 November.

Mexico is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 26.11.2018