A media outlet in the Mexican state of Michoacan says one of its employees, Roberto Toledo, has become the fourth media worker killed in the country in less than a month.
The weeks-long spate of killings has already sparked protests, with press freedom groups urging the government to do more to protect journalists.
Two of those killed in recent weeks, including Toledo, had previously been part of federal programs to protect journalists while one was about to join, according to rights groups.
“For denouncing corrupt administrations and corrupt officials and politicians, today led to the death of one of our colleagues,” Armando Linares, director of Monitor Michoacan, said after the Toledo murder on Monday.
Linares said Toledo, who had worked as a videographer for the outlet for two years, was preparing to record a regular video column at the law offices of the website’s deputy director when he was shot dead by the assailants.
The Michoacan attorney general’s office said in a statement that Toledo died of his injuries. State authorities said they were investigating the killing but did not provide further details.
In a video message, Linares said the outlet reported several sensitive stories, including three indigenous communities working for self-government, organized crime in the area, illegal logging and corruption in local government.
He said the website had previously received threats over its reporting on government corruption.
“The Monitor Michoacan team has suffered weeks, months of death threats. We know where all of this came from,” Linares said, without identifying those he believed to be responsible.
Mexico continues to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Human rights group Article 19 has documented the murders of at least 145 journalists between 2000 and 2021, including seven last year.
The Toledo murder came after two journalists — photographer Margarito Martinez and journalist Lourdes Maldonado Lopez — were killed a week apart in the border town of Tijuana. They were shot and killed on January 17 and 23, respectively.
Rights groups say Maldonado Lopez had been on the $23 million-a-year federal program to protect journalists and rights activists since last December. Martinez was applying for the program when he was killed.