The federal Attorney General’s office is taking over the investigation into the assassination of two journalists in less than a month at an online publication in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo.
Publisher Rubén Pat Cauich of the Playa News Aquí y Ahora was shot and killed outside a bar on Tuesday morning when he was attacked by gunmen. By the time emergency services personnel arrived, he was dead.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Pat had been beaten, detained overnight and threatened by local police in June.
He often reported on police activity and prior to his detention had written a story accusing police of colluding with a criminal gang.
Jan-Albert Hootson, CPJ’s representative in Mexico, said Pat had been enrolled in a government protection program at the time of his death.
The Playa News said in a Facebook post that Tuesday was “a black day for journalism”, adding “killing journalists will not silence the truth.”
Pat’s murder was preceded by that of reporter José Guadalupe Chan Dzib, who was slain late last month at a Felipe Carrillo Puerto nightclub.
The state Attorney General’s office reported early today that the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (Feadle) had taken over both investigations.
Pat was the focus of several investigations between 2011 and 2018, state prosecutors said. In some he was a victim while in others a suspected offender.
Also on Tuesday news surfaced of the murder last week of Luis Pérez García, an 80-year-old journalist and presenter.
According to the Federation of Associations of Mexican Journalists (Fapermex), firefighters discovered Pérez’s body after putting out a blaze at his home in the borough of Iztapalapa in Mexico City.
National media reported Pérez was beaten and asphyxiated before his home was set on fire.
Fapermex denounced the killing and called for government protection for Pérez’s family.
The Mexico office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) issued a statement on Tuesday demanding that Mexican authorities adopt effective measures aimed at ending the violence targeting journalists.
” . . . Death threats against journalist for doing their job are multiplying,” said the global federation of journalists’ trade unions.
At least eight journalists have been killed in Mexico so far in 2018.