Reporter gunned down in Veracruz while under state protection
Newspaper reporter Pedro Tamayo Rosas was gunned down on 20 July in Tierra Blanca, in the eastern state of Veracruz, although he had been receiving Veracruz state protection ever since being the target of threats in January.
Tamayo, who worked for two dailies, Al Calor Politico and Piñero de la Cuenca, was shot by two unidentified gunmen outside his home in front of his wife and two children.
He left Tierra Blanca for the neighbouring state of Oaxaca on 25 January, after being threatened, and was subsequently placed under the protection of the Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists of Veracruz, which moved him to the northwestern city of Tijuana.
After several months, he decided to return to Tierra Blanca, where he continued to receive Veracruz state protection. This consisted of a police patrol car that drove past his home from time to time.
Tamayo’s family said the gunmen had no problem getting away although a police car was only ten metres away at the time. The police took no action aside from delaying the arrival of an ambulance by twice giving the wrong address to emergency services.
“We urge the authorities to carry out an exhaustive investigation into Pedro Tamayo’s death and to prioritize the probable link to his journalistic work,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America’s desk
“The level of violence against the media in Mexico, and especially in Veracruz, is overwhelming. Journalists are killed even when they are under state protection. Under these circumstances, how is it possible for reporters to continue covering sensitive local stories?”
Tamayo covered local crime-related stories and kept a Facebook page called En la linea de fuego, los riesgos de la noticia (In the line of fire, the risks of reporting). He was the third journalist to be murdered in Veracruz this year. The previous victims were Anabel Flores in February and Manuel Torres González in May.
When a suspect was arrested three months after Flores’ murder, the state prosecutor confirmed that she had been killed in connection with her reporting, which had angered a local criminal organization, he said.
Veracruz is regarded as Mexico’s most dangerous state for journalists, with at least 17 murdered there since 2010. Mexico is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.