Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that activist and radio programme host Atilano Román was shot dead while presenting his weekly programme on Radio Fiesta Mexicana in Mazatlán, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, on 11 October.
Two men burst into the studio and shot Román several times while he was on the air hosting his Saturday morning programme “Así es mi tierra” (Such is my land). Listeners heard the shots and the cries of his colleagues before the broadcast was cut off.
A frequent critic of the local authorities in his programmes, Román led a movement consisting of about 800 local farming families whose land was flooded when Picachos dam was built in Sinaloa state in 2007. He had received threats in the past in connection with his role in organizing marches and protests to demand compensation for the lost land.
“We urge the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into Atilano Román’s shocking murder and to bring those responsible to justice,” said Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles. “Murdering a presenter in a radio studio while he is on the air shows that violence against journalists knows no limits in Mexico.”
In a separate development in Sinaloa state, a local magazine editor was reported missing on 13 October. Jesús Antonio Gamboa, who edited Nueva Prensa, a magazine based in the city of Ahome, was last seen in Ahome by one of his brothers on the night of 10 October, his family said.
The Sinaloa state prosecutor’s office has begun an investigation into his disappearance.
Mexico is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.