Mexican journalist shot, marks 12th reporter murdered this year

Violence targeting reporters in Mexico continues to rise, as 47-year-old Antonio de la Cruz was shot outside his home.

Journalists protest journalist murders by holding photos of the victims in front of their faces.
Mexican journalists protest the murder of a colleague in February 2014. Antonio de la Cruz, shot outside his home on Wednesday, is the 12th Mexican journalist murdered in 2022 [File: Marco Ugarte/AP]

A Mexican journalist was shot and killed while leaving his home in Ciudad Victoria in northeastern Mexico.

His 23-year-old daughter was also seriously injured in the gun attack on Wednesday.

The victim, 47-year-old Antonio de la Cruz, a reporter for the regional newspaper Expreso, is the 12th Mexican journalist murdered this year amid rising violence against members of the press.

De la Cruz worked for Expreso for nearly three decades, reporting on rural and social issues while living in the city of Ciudad Victoria. The city is located in the border state of Tamaulipas, which has faced issues of violence and organised crime.

The shooting of de la Cruz is the latest in a string of violent attacks on journalists in Mexico, making 2022 the deadliest year on record for members of the country’s press.

Mexico is the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones.

Two Mexican journalists, Yessenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana Garcia, were murdered in the state of Veracruz in May, and more than 150 journalists have been killed since 2000. Those employed by smaller regional outlets often face the most risk.

Human rights and press freedom groups have lamented the violence faced by Mexican journalists and called on the government to act.

On its website, the group Reporters Without Borders said that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had not “undertaken the necessary reforms to stop the spiral of violence against the press”.

President Obrador has been criticised for his hostility to the press, whom he has attacked repeatedly during his tenure.

De la Cruz was described by Miguel Domínguez, the director of Expreso, as “very aware of the reality of Tamaulipas, very brave”, in a television interview.

It is not the first time the paper has been threatened with violence. A car bomb exploded in front of the paper’s offices in 2012, and a human head was delivered in a cooler with a note warning the publication against reporting on violence in the city in 2018.

Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, governor of Tamaulipas, has insisted that the murder of de la Cruz will “not go unpunished”, and the federal prosecutor’s office has said that it would open an investigation into the killing.

However, impunity has been an unfortunately consistent feature of the murders of Mexican journalists, and a government program designed to protect reporters has been criticised as insufficient.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 15 Mexican journalists are currently missing.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies