Four journalists killed in Mexico in less than a month.

February 1, 2022, 3:32 pm

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.

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