Journalists in Mexico are dying in record numbers, more often at the hands of public officials and the police than at the hands of drug cartels, according to the New York Times.
At least 104 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since the turn of the century, including 11 in 2016, according to the Times. The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit, keeps a more conservative number, asserting that 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 in cases where the motive has been confirmed.
While groups may argue over the homicide statistics, based on the definition of who counts as a journalist and the definition of what constitutes a work-related murder, Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for members of the free press.
Drug cartels, corrupt public officials and even the police murder journalists over media coverage. Criminal reporter Pedro Tamayo was gunned down in late-July, and his wife thinks the police were involved. She said that they failed to chase the shooter, and even kept her from helping her dying husband on the sidewalk.
Regina Martinez, a 20-year veteran reporter for the popular magazine Proceso, was beaten and strangled to death in April 2012 after reporting on the mysterious death of a public official and the arrests of nine police officers, according to the Times.
The police say Martinez died due to a botched robbery by someone she was sleeping with, but colleagues and observers believe it was a cover-up. Journalists across the nation were rocked by her death, thinking that if she could be killed, anyone could be next.
The situation is so dire that at least one newspaper is shutting its doors. The owner of Norte newspaper in the border town of Juarez said it’s closing because, among other things, “there are no guarantees nor the security to exercise critical, counterweight journalism.”
Mexican journalist Miroslava Breach reported on a series of murders and assassinations before becoming a victim herself. Breach was gunned down as she pulled her car out of her garage in Chihuahua March 23, according to the LA Times.
While journalists are often a target due to negative coverage and critical reporting of public officials and police corruption, sometimes they cross over and become entwined with shady drug dealers and corrupt police officers, according to the Times. They take bribes and shift their coverage or simply ignore corruption.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out, but did not hear back by press time, to the New York Times and the CPJ.
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