Journalist murdered in Mexico, the second in a week

A Mexican journalist was shot dead on Saturday in Acapulco (west), the second in a week in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for information professionals due in particular to the violence of organized crime.

Director of a local information site, Nelson Matus was shot dead in a parking lot near a cheap shop, indicated the local prosecutor’s office, which announced the opening of an investigation for “crime of homicide qualified by firearm”, promising to leave no stone unturned.

An experienced journalist

Nelson Matus had fifteen years’ experience as a journalist. He had specialized in covering the violence that agitated the state of Guerrero (southwest), explained the delegate in Mexico of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Balbina Flores.

“He had an introverted character” especially at times “when covering the violence was tricky,” recalls a reporter who met the victim during several reports. “He was always collaborative and kind. He had a lot of connections with many sources, “adds this journalist, who claims to feel” terrible indignation “.

Specializing in miscellaneous facts, the information portal Lo Real de Guerrero which Nelson Matus was the director had for example published this Saturday an article on the discovery of “human remains in black bags” near a hotel in Acapulco.

murderous years

On July 8, the body of Luis Martin Sanchez was found bearing traces of violence, a few days after the disappearance of this correspondent for the daily La Jornada in the state of Nayarit (north-west). With 13 journalists killed according to authorities’ tally, 2022 was the deadliest year for journalists in Mexico since 2000.

The country is one of the most violent in the world, with more than 150 journalists killed since 2000, according to RSF. The Mexican NGO Article 19 has listed for its part since 2000 “160 murders of journalists in Mexico, possibly in relation to their work” of information professionals.

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The most affected state is Veracruz (southeast), with 31 murders of journalists since 2000, especially in the 2010s, according to this same NGO. Guerrero comes second with 15 murders of journalists since 2000 (compared to two in the capital Mexico City).

Impunity

Guerrero is one of the states most affected by violence allegedly linked to drug trafficking. “The Guerrero is going through a very complex situation. It faces very high levels of violence, which makes journalists more vulnerable, especially those who cover news stories,” according to RSF delegate Balbina Flores.

On Monday, demonstrators practically besieged the state capital, Chilpancingo: 13 members of the security forces and civil servants were taken hostage, the door of the governor’s palace was smashed in with an armored vehicle stolen from the police, the highway was blocked… The civil servants finally were released after negotiations between the federal government and the protesters, who were believed to be infiltrated by organized crime, according to the authorities.

Most of the murders of journalists go unpunished, deplores RSF. On Monday, a few dozen journalists gathered in several cities, including Mexico City, to protest against the assassination of the Jornada correspondent.

The office of the UN High Commissioner in Mexico called for a “rapid, exhaustive, independent and effective” investigation in condemning the assassination of Luis Martin Sanchez.

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