A few hours after the 38-year-old Mendoza was gunned down as he walked from a gymnasium to his car, the Michoacán state prosecutor’s office said in a statement that it had arrested three suspects and was continuing the investigation.
Mendoza had worked for Voces Radio since 2013 as news director, producer and programme host. He also reported for EXA-Morelia, another local radio station, and hosted programmes on Central TV AM, and Grupo Acir radio, and Vasco de Quiroga University’s Observatorio programme. On social media, he was often outspoken in his criticism of political corruption, both local and federal, but had not reported receiving threats recently.
“With at least three journalists already murdered this year in Mexico, how many more victims will be needed before the authorities finally take bold measures to protect media workers?” asked Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “The Michoacán prosecutor’s office and local police must conduct an exemplary investigation into Abraham Mendoza’s murder and must not rule out any hypothesis, including a possible link to his journalism.”
RSF is still conducting its own investigation into Mendoza’s murder with the aim of establishing whether it was connected to his reporting.
At least two other journalists have been killed because of their work since the start of 2021.
Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was the victim of an execution-style murder in the southern state of Oaxaca on 17 June. He had repeatedly reported receiving threats was waiting to receive protection from the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists.
The body of Benjamín Morales Hernández, the founder and editor of the online news outlet Noticias Xonoidag, was found at the side of a road between Caborca and Sonoyta, in the northwestern state of Sonora, on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
Mexico is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index .