Romero was shot dead as he was driving his car yesterday morning in the Potrerillo district of Ixtaczoquitlán, a municipality adjacent to Orizaba, the city where the radio station he worked for, Ori Estéreo 99.3 FM, is based.
Since 2015, Romero had hosted a programme on Facebook called “Un Café con El Enano con Jacinto Romero Flores” in which he discussed politics, crime and social conditions in Orizaba and nearby cities in this highland part of Veracruz province.
According to the AvcNoticias news site, Romero received several threatening messages in February, including one telling him to “stop writing crap” after he reported that police and persons close to local officials had abused their authority during a party in Texhuacán, a town 50 km south of Orizaba.
After receiving these threats, Romero sought protection from the Veracruz State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP). A CEAPP official told RSF that Romero was receiving “preventive protection” and that his case was “active.” The public security ministry has meanwhile reported that the police are looking for his killers.
“The murder of Jacinto Romero has cast yet a new shadow over press freedom in Mexico less that a month after another journalist’s murder,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “Jacinto Romero nonetheless knew he was in danger and had requested official protection. We call on the authorities to conduct a full, rigorous and independent investigation so as not to let this crime go unpunished.”
At least four other journalists have been murdered in Mexico since the start of the year. They are Benjamín Morales Hernández, murdered on 2 May in Sonora state, Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera, on 17 June in Oaxaca state, Ricardo López Domínguez, on 22 July in Sonora state, and Saúl Tijerina, on June 22, in Coahuila state.
Mexico is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.