Two Mexican media workers were murdered in separate attacks, bringing the total number of journalists killed in Mexico so far in 2018 to at least eight.
Ruben Pat Cauich was shot dead on Tuesday in a southeastern resort town on Mexico’s coast amid increasing violence in the area.
Pat Cauich was the chief of Playa News Aqui y Ahora, a Facebook-based online news site run from Playa del Carmen in the coastal state of Quintana Roo.
According to officials, he was shot at around 6am (11:00GMT) outside a bar. Emergency services pronounced him dead upon arriving at the scene.
“Municipal police have made contact with staff from the attorney general’s office in order to carry out relevant investigations,” Solidaridad municipality said in a statement.
Pat Cauich was the second Playa News journalist killed in less than a month after his colleague, Jose Guadalupe Chan Dzib, was shot dead on June 29.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Pat Cauich had been beaten, detained overnight, and threatened by police in June.
He often reported on police activity and, prior to the detention, had written an article accusing local officers of colluding with a criminal gang.
Jan-Albert Hootson, CPJ’s representative for Mexico, said Pat Cauich had been enrolled in a government protection programme at the time of his death.
Playa News Aqui y Ahora said in a Facebook post that Tuesday was “a black day for journalism”, adding “killing journalists will not silence the truth”.
It called on the state government to investigate the killing. “Now it is two from our team, Governor, when will the lack of public safety in our state end?”
Killings on the rise
The first six months of 2018 saw a 132 percent rise in homicide rates in Quintana Roo, home to a number of popular tourist resorts, including Cancun and Tulum.
Pat Cauich’s killing came as news emerged on Tuesday that Luis Perez Garcia, an 80-year-old journalist and presenter, had been killed last week.
According to the Federation of Associations of Mexican Journalists (Fapermex), firefighters discovered Perez Garcia’s body around 12:30am (05:30GMT) after putting out a blaze at his home in the Iztapalapa district.
National media reported he was beaten and asphyxiated before his home was set alight.
Fapermex denounced the killing and called for governmental protection for Perez Garcia’s family.
At least eight journalists have now been killed in Mexico so far in 2018.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president-elect, pledged to “care for and protect” journalists at a freedom of the press event in May.
Under the presidency of his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, which began in 2012, at least 42 journalists were murdered and there were about 2,000 attacks on reporters, according to Article 19, a freedom of expression NGO.
Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Eleven reporters were killed in 2017, according to Reporters Without Borders.
More than 100 media workers have been killed in the country since 2000. Most of the crimes remain unsolved.