Mexican reporter killed in Veracruz state known for drug violence

Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, 42, is the fourth journalist to be killed this year, raising concerns regarding media freedom.

Leobardo Vasquez
Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, 42, was shot dead on Wednesday night inside his home [Screengrab Facebook]

A local journalist has been killed in the state of Veracruz in eastern Mexico, according to reports in local media.

Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, 42, was shot dead on Wednesday night inside his home in the state known for drug violence, reports said, adding that the alleged suspects left the scene on a motorcycle.

“These are the first accounts we have. There are no more details,” Ana Laura Perez, the president of the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP), told El Siglo de Durango website on Wednesday.

The murdered journalist operated a Spanish language news website, Enlace Informativo Regional, covering local events around the municipality of Guiterrez Zamora, according to Perez.

Mexican newspaper, SinEmbargo, reported that Vasquez had been threatened before his murder – having already requested help and protection.

Vazquez is the fourth journalist murdered this year. In January Jose Gerardo Martinez, was shot in a borough of Mexico City in January and Carlos Dominguez was stabbed to death 21 times in Tamaulipas state. Pamika Montegro was shot dead at a beach-side resort in Acapulco in February.

Mexico was the most dangerous place to be a journalist in 2017, ahead of Iraq and Syria, with 14 deaths, according to the International Press Institute.  

The Latin American nation was left shocked by the murder of highly acclaimed and awarding winning-journalist Javier Valdez last year. Vazquez’s death is the 48th under Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

According to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (ACHR), Mexico is a high risk country in terms of freedom of expression – specifically Mexican states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chihuahua.

Previously Vasquez worked for local newspaper ‘La Opinion de Poza Rica’ and ‘Vanguardia’.

At least 22 journalists have been murdered in the state of Veracruz in the last seven years, according to Mexican newspaper, El Universal.

“Mexico continues to be the Western Hemisphere’s deadliest country for the media. When journalists cover subjects linked to organised crime or political corruption (especially at the local level), they immediately become targets and are often executed in cold blood,” the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement.

Source: Al Jazeera