Veracruz reporter becomes sixth journalist murdered in Mexico this year
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sounds the alarm about the growing violence against Mexican media personnel after freelance reporter Manuel Torres was gunned down in Poza Rica, in the eastern state of Veracruz, on 14 May, becoming the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since the start of the year.
A reporter with 20 years experience, Torres worked for TV Azteca, Radiover.com and several regional and local media including the daily newspaper Noreste, covering court cases and clashes between organized crime and the police. He also edited his own news website, Noticiasmt, and worked for the Poza Rica city hall.
His murder, by a single shot to the head as he returned home, confirmed Mexico’s status as one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media. He was the second journalist to be killed this year in Veracruz, regarded as Mexico’s most dangerous state for reporters.
“It is vital that the Veracruz police and judicial authorities identify those responsible for this murder and bring them to trial,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.
“Torres’ death, like those of the many other Mexican journalists killed in recent years, will not be forgotten. This is a state of emergency for the media in Veracruz. We appeal to all those who defend media freedom to support Mexico’s journalists and to denounce this deadly spiral of violence.”
Astonishingly, the Veracruz Prosecutor-General’s Office issued a statement about Torres’ murder that identified him simply as a Poza Rica city hall employee, without saying he was a journalist.
The Veracruz State Commission for the Protection of Journalists issued a statement “energetically condemning this journalist’s murder” and calling for a swift investigation to find out who did it. The commission was created by the Veracruz state government but in principle is independent.
RSF remind that on 25 april, the journalist Francisco Pacheco Beltrán was also found dead in front of his house in the city of Taxco, in Guerrero state.
Mexico is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.