Rafael Murúa Manríquez’s body was found in a ditch 40 km west of Santa Rosalía, a port town on the state’s eastern coast, where he ran community Radio Kashana 93.3 FM. He had been shot many times in the abdomen. His family had reported his disappearance to the police earlier yesterday.
Last November, Murúa had reported being the target of threat and attacks linked to his journalistic work and his criticism of Felipe Prado Batista, the mayor of Mulegé, the municipal district of which Santa Rosalía is the capital.
Condemning the death threats, slander and censorship attempts being directed against himself, he appealed publicly to the local authorities to ensure respect for freedom of expression. He had been the recipient of protective measures since June 2017 under Mexico’s Federal Mechanism for Protecting Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.
“The authorities in Baja California Sur must carry out an exhaustive investigation into this execution-style murder and must prioritize the hypothesis that the victim was killed in connection with his journalistic work,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.
“In view of this latest failure on the part of the federal protection mechanism, we call on President López Obrador to carry out a complete overhaul of the provisions for protecting journalists in Mexico.”
Murúa was the first Mexican journalist to be murdered in 2019. At least nine journalists were murdered in direct connection with their work last year in Mexico, which is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.