Mexican journalist gunned down near home in Tabasco
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by yesterday’s murder of Juan Carlos Huerta Martínez, a Mexican journalist who was gunned down near his home in Villahermosa, the capital of the southeastern state of Tabasco, and urges investigators to prioritize the hypothesis of a link to his work.
A well-known and influential radio and TV journalist in the Villahermosa region, Huerta had just left his home in his car when his route was blocked by gunmen in a grey vehicle, who shot him several times.
Aged 45, he was the founder and host of "Panorama Sin Reservas", a radio programme specializing in local politics on 620AM, and presented the Notinueve news programme on the Canal Nueve TV channel.
“They came to kill him,” Tabasco governor Arturo Núñez Jiménez said later yesterday, confirming that Huerta was the target of a planned murder rather than the victim of an armed hold-up.
“This deadly spiral cannot go on because the level of violence that Mexican journalists now face is unparalleled in the western hemisphere and is approaching what is seen in countries at war,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “Those responsible for this cowardly murder must be identified and brought to justice as soon as possible, and the hypothesis of a link to the victim’s work must be prioritized.”
Huerta was murdered on the first anniversary of the murder of Javier Valdez, a prominent and respected journalist who was gunned down in a similar manner in Culiacán, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, on 15 May 2017, triggering a wave of international outrage.
RSF supported events that have been organized in the past few days to pay tribute to Valdez, who was one of the founders of the weekly Ríodoce and reported for the national daily La Jornada.
The western hemisphere’s deadliest country for the media, Mexico is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.