July 11, 2017

Honduran journalist gunned down in Mexico after seeking asylum

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a swift but exhaustive investigation into the execution-style murder of Honduran journalist Edwin Rivera Paz on 9 July in southern Mexico, where he had requested political asylum,

Rivera had fled to Mexico after Igor Padilla, a well-known Honduran TV journalist with whom he worked closely, was himself the victim of an execution-style murder in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on 17 January.

Rivera was pursued and shot by gunmen in broad daylight on a street in the San Diego district of Acayucan, a city in the eastern state of Veracruz. He had fled to Mexico in January after Padilla’s murder because he feared that he would also be murdered.

According to the information obtained by RSF, the Mexican Commission for Assistance to Refugees (COMAR) had granted provisional “protective measures” to Rivera and a member of his family pending full approval of his asylum application. He had meanwhile been living in Acayucan, and had been making photo and video reports about the lives of other refugees in the city.

We call on the Mexican and Honduran authorities to work together on this case and to examine all possible hypotheses so that this shocking murder does not go unpunished, like so many others,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin American desk. “The state of Veracruz has too long been riddled with violence against the media. This cannot go on.

Mexican journalist Pedro Tamayo Rosas, was gunned down in Tierra Blanca, in Veracruz state, in July 2016 despite being under Veracruz state protection at the time.

Rivera was the eighth journalist to be murdered in Mexico this year. The previous victims were Salvador Adame Pardo, Cecilio Pineda Birto, Miroslava Breach, Maximino Rodríguez, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, Ricardo Monlui and Filiberto Álvarez Landeros.

Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been killed in Mexico, which is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

In a report published in February, entitled “Veracruz: journalists and the state of fear,” RSF provides a detailed examination of the flaws in Mexico’s mechanisms for protecting journalists in danger, and offers recommendations for improving the situation.