Mexico recognises it failed to protect journalist murdered three years ago, as RSF said at the time

On the third anniversary of a news website editor’s murder, the Mexican authorities have publicly acknowledged their failure to protect him and have apologised to his family. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges them to redouble their efforts to shed light on the murder and to strengthen the federal mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists.

Noticias Minuto a Minuto news site editor Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was fatally shot by gunmen while riding a motorcycle with his son near Morro de Mazatán, a town in the southern state of Oaxaca, on 17 June 2021, after repeatedly reporting that he was being threatened in connection with his journalism and requesting federal protection.

The formal public apology that the government offered to Sánchez’s family on 17 June, the third anniversary of his death, followed pressure from RSF and its local partners. The initiative was also one of a series of recommendations by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) to redress the negligence that led to his murder, which is now seen as emblematic of the weakness of Mexico’s protective mechanisms.

“In a country ravaged by violence against media personnel, protective mechanisms are all the more essential. Gustavo Sánchez’s murder was the direct result of negligence on the part of the state, which systematically ignored the urgency of the various requests for protection made by this journalist. Offering a formal apology to his family constitutes progress in this case, but all of the CNDH’s recommendations must now be implemented. Mexico’s incoming administration must take up the challenge of reforming the federal protection mechanism in order to prevent such murders from recurring.

Artur Romeu
Director of RSF’s Latin America bureau

In a joint statement, RSF and its local partner, Propuesta Cívica, asked the Mexican authorities to continue to make every effort to shed light on Sánchez’s murder and identify the perpetrators. The federal protection mechanism officials whose failings have been identified by the CNDH must also be held to account, the joint statement said.

RSF and Propuesta Cívica organised an event in Sánchez’s honour in Oaxaca on 17 June in which his family, civil society representatives and local authorities took part.

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