Margarito Martinez: Mexican journalist shot dead outside home

Margarito Martinez, 49, who covered police and crime, was fatally shot near his home in Tijuana, near the US border.

Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martinez is interviewed as journalists from Baja California State demonstrate against violence towards members of the press in Mexico.
Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martinez was found fatally shot near his home in Tijuana, Mexico. [File: Guillermo Arias/AFP]

A photojournalist has been found fatally shot in the northern Mexican border city of Tijuana, the latest killing of a media worker in the country.

Margarito Martinez, 49, was found near his home with a fatal gunshot wound to his head on Monday, the security secretariat in the northwestern state of Baja California said in a statement.

Media rights group Yo So Soy Periodista (I Am a Journalist) said Martinez, who reported on police and crime, had previously received threats from people connected to organised crime.

“Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is a fundamental right of citizens,” the Baja California Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Martinez, beyond working for local outlets, worked as a fixer for international outlets including the BBC and the Los Angeles Times.

His 16-year-old daughter heard the gunshot and discovered her father’s body, according to the newspaper.

More than 100 reporters have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, with powerful drug cartels operating in the country often killing to discourage journalists from investigating, or generally reporting on, their dealings and their connections to officials.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) regularly ranks Mexico alongside war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Yemen as the world’s most dangerous places for news media. Only a fraction of the crimes has led to convictions.

Rights groups have also urged authorities to fully investigate the January 10 attack on journalist and social media activist, Jose Luis Gamboa in the city of Xalapa in the eastern state of Veracruz.

Gamboa was found lying in the street with a stab wound and later died at a hospital. His body was not identified for days.

There had been no known threats against Gamboa before, according to the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists, and authorities say it is unclear if he was targeted because of his work.

Still, RSF has urged prosecutors to thoroughly investigate the killing.

“Gamboa had denounced and strongly criticised local authorities for their relationship with organized crime,” the group tweeted.

Source: News Agencies