Ricardo Monlui was gunned down as he was leaving a restaurant with his wife and children and was heading towards his car in Yanga, a small town near the city of Córdoba, on 19 March.
Aged 57, he edited El Político, a Córdoba-based local newspaper, wrote a column called “Crisol” for the El Sol de Córdoba newspaper and wrote editorials for a third newspaper, the Diario de Xalapa. He also headed a Córdoba association of reporters and press photographers.
He often wrote about conflicts between the Veracruz authorities and farmers and workers in the sugarcane industry, one of the region’s main economic activities.
On the eve of his death, El Político published an article about the discovery of the body of an individual with a supposed press ID and a message linking the victim to Los Zetas, Veracruz’s biggest criminal cartel, which is on RSF’s list of press freedom predators.
“We call on the Veracruz police and judicial authorities to quickly identify those responsible for Ricardo Monlui’s murder and to work on the assumption that it was probably linked to his work as a journalist,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau.
“The Veracruz authorities must also provide Monlui’s family and colleagues with all the necessary protection. At the same time, Veracruz’s new governor must reveal his intentions and plans for stemming the flood of violence that has engulfed the state’s media for too many years.”
Monlui had not reported receiving any recent threats and did not receive any special protection. His son Ricardo Monlui Ruíz was the target of a murder attempt in December 2010.
He was the first journalist to be murdered in Veracruz since Miguel Ángel Yunes took over as the state’s new governor last December.
In a report published on 2 February, entitled “Veracruz: journalists and the state of fear,” RSF examined the difficulties of working as journalist in this state, one of the most violent places in Latin America, and made a series of recommendations.
One of the recommendations for the new governor was to “establish a clear, effective and transparent policy for ensuring that journalists are safe and free to practice their profession in the state of Veracruz; do this by setting specific goals and by reinforcing the entities responsible for guaranteeing freedom of expression.”
Mexico is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.