Two journalists have been killed in the space of a week in Veracruz and Baja California.
José Luis Gamboa died in hospital in Veracruz city on January 10 but wasn’t identified until January 14, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported. The journalist protection agency Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said he was stabbed to death in what may have been a robbery.
Gamboa was the director of the local news website InfoRegio in which he wrote about connections between organized crime and politicians. He wrote recently that “Mexico’s tragedy is the narco-trafficking to which municipalities are subject; instead of fighting it the entire governmental power structure is linked up with a considerable criminal association.”
Veracruz Attorney General Verónica Hernández said the murder was being investigated in relation to his work as a journalist.
Photojournalist Margarito Martínez was killed in front of his house in Tijuana, Baja California, on Monday. He had recently been put under protection after receiving threats from a former police officer, the newspaper El Universal reported.
Martínez worked for the Los Angeles Times and the BBC and a string of local publications.
The director of the local newspaper Zeta Tijuana, Adela Navarro, a former colleague, said the murder was tragic but unsurprising. “A terrible, painful, unjust event. It provokes anger, frustration and reflects the situation in Tijuana, where weapons abound,” she said.
Reporters Without Borders said the journalists’ lines of work had exposed them to danger. It called for thorough investigations.
“Both journalists were covering the corruption and organized crime that are rampant in their region. RSF calls for an exemplary investigation, at both local and federal level, to identify those responsible for these crimes,” the organization said.
Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to practice journalism, according to RSF. Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that nine journalists had been killed since December 2021; 48 journalists have been killed in Mexico since December 2018.
Resolution for the murder of any journalist or activist in Mexico remains unlikely: impunity reigns in more than 90% of their murder cases, Deputy Human Rights Minister Alejandro Encinas said in December. In cases where the culprits were identified, almost half were local officials, he said.