Four journalists were shot in Guerrero on Tuesday, while a fifth reporter was wounded when he came under fire in the neighboring state of Michoacán later in the day.
Armed men on motorcycles attacked four journalists traveling in a car in Chilpancingo on Tuesday afternoon, according to witnesses.
The journalists, all men, came under fire in front of a military facility in the Guerrero capital. Before they were attacked, they had attended the scene of the murder of a public transport driver.
The men were taken to a local hospital, and one of them, Jesús de la Cruz, was reported in serious condition with gunshot wounds to the chest. The journalists, one of whom is a photographer, work for local media organizations.
The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that it was investigating the crime as attempted murder. It said that federal, state and municipal security authorities had launched an operation to apprehend the aggressors, but no arrests were reported.
The attack came after three journalists were abducted in Taxco, Guerrero, last week. They were subsequently released.
Later on Tuesday, Maynor Ramón Ramírez Arroyo, a crime reporter for the ABC newspaper, was shot in Apatzingán, a municipality in the notoriously violent Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán. A man who was with Ramírez was also wounded.
“The journalist and his companion were wounded when they were on Emiliano Zapata Street in the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood,” the Michoacán Attorney General’s Office (FGE) said in a statement. “The victims were assisted and taken to a local hospital, where they are receiving medical care,” the FGE said, adding that “a multidisciplinary team” attended the crime scene.
The Associated Press reported that “the shooting of five media workers in one day represents one of the largest mass attacks on reporters in Mexico in a decade.”
In a statement, several Guerrero-based journalists’ associations condemned the attack on the journalists in Chilpancingo, demanded a thorough investigation into the crime and called for authorities to guarantee reporters’ safety. They also called on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador – who frequently criticizes the media – to end his “discourse of hate and disrepute” toward journalists and news outlets.
“To Governor Evelyn Salgado Pineda, we demand that you assume your public security responsibility. … To [Chilpancingo] Mayor Norma Otilia Hernández Martínez we say that your attitude of direct aggression toward media outlets … makes journalists more vulnerable … [to attacks from] people who sympathize with your politics,” the journalists’ associations said.
Leopoldo Maldonado Gutiérrez, director of press freedom advocacy organization Article 19 in Mexico, said in a recent radio interview that violence against the press is a particular problem in Guerrero, a poor southern state known for lawlessness in certain areas.
“Violence is rampant in a large part of the country, like in Guanajuato and Tamaulipas, and in Guerrero [there is] specific violence against the press,” he said.
“We have to remember that Guerrero ranks fifth [among Mexico’s 32 federal entities] in number of attacks … against the press,” Maldonado said citing his organization’s data for the period between 2009 and 2023.
Article 19 reported in September that an act of aggression was committed against Mexican media workers and organizations every 16 hours on average during the first half of 2023.
The organization also said that 161 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, including 41 during the current federal administration. At least five journalists have been killed in Mexico in 2023.