A journalist was shot dead in his home in Michoacán on Tuesday night, making him the ninth media worker and seventh practicing journalist to be murdered this year.
Armando Linares was killed in Zitácuaro, a city about 150 kilometers east of Morelia. He was shot eight times in front of his wife and children, the newspaper El Sol de Morelia reported.
He was the director of the news site Monitor Michoacán. His colleague Roberto Toledo was murdered in Zitácuaro in late January.
Linares had been subjected to threats since accusing Michoacán Attorney General Adrián López Solís of corruption and intimidation in 2019. He sought protection under the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists but withdrew from the program after a few weeks.
“The calls of alarm and for help from Armando were not heard … the authorities were silent,” Linares’ colleagues said in a statement. They also urged the government to “treat the matter with complete seriousness in light of the killings, attacks and rights violations.”
“The anger, powerlessness and indignation are without words in the face of the murders of journalists in Mexico and Michoacán,” the statement added.
Michoacán’s government lamented Linares’ killing. “Any form of attack on freedom of expression threatens social coexistence and democratic life, so we reiterate our willingness to collaborate with investigations that help clarify and punish the act,” it said in a tweet.
Michoacán authorities added that journalists have the support of the state government through the Department of Protection for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.
In a video posted on January 31, after Toledo’s murder, Linares said the Monitor Michoacán team had been threatened.
“[Toledo] lost his life at the hands of three people who shot him in a vile and cowardly way … The Monitor Michoacán team has been suffering a series of death threats. Finally, these were fulfilled, and today they murdered one of the members of our team,” he said.
However, Linares said at the time that he was undeterred. “Exposing corruption of governments, officials and politicians led us to the death of one of our colleagues … We are not armed, we do not carry weapons. Our only defense is a pen and a notebook … We are going to continue denouncing corruption even if it costs our lives,” he said.
The emotional video Linares recorded in January after the killing of his colleague Roberto Toledo.
Hay suficientes antecedentes para dar con los culpables y dar justicia.
Pero hay un problema; Fue el Crimen Organizado y AMLO no los toca.
Este vídeo es un importante antecedente 👇pic.twitter.com/A7v7KGCCUg
— Edsaac (@edsaacv) March 16, 2022
The murder is unwelcome news for President López Obrador, who rejected a European Parliament resolution on the harassment and killing of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico earlier this month. The president accused European parliamentarians of being “sheep” after they made their first such resolution directed at a foreign government.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also expressed concern about violence against journalists in Mexico, although he didn’t directly criticize the president.
The nonprofit watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that Mexico was the most dangerous country in which to practice journalism for the third consecutive year in 2021. The nation is well set to take that unenviable title for the fourth year running after already reaching — just 74 days into 2022 — RSF’s 2021 count of seven murdered journalists.