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August 9, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:12am

CPJ urges Mexico to fix ‘press freedom crisis’ after three journalists killed in four days

By James Walker

The Mexican government has been urged to get a handle on its “press freedom crisis” after the death of three journalists in less than a week.

The killings took place between 30 July and 2 August, according to press freedom group the Committee to Protect Journalists which also criticised the “inaction” of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

El Grafico newspaper reporter Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez was shot dead on 2 August in the town of Actopan in the state of Veracruz.

On the same day, La Verdad de Zihuatanejo founder Edgar Alberto Nava Lopez was found dead in Zihuatanejo in the state of Guerrero.

Three days earlier, also in Guerrero, Al Instante news website founder Rogelio Barragan Perez was found dead in the boot of car.

The CPJ said in a blog post that it had “called on Mexico’s federal government to swiftly and concretely address its press freedom crisis”.

In a statement, CPJ Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen said: “As Mexico’s press mourns the killing of another colleague, the inaction of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s federal government is inexcusable.

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“Mexican authorities must do everything in their power to ensure that Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vázquez’s death does not become another murder statistic. This past week must be a catalyst for a comprehensive plan to stamp out impunity.”

The non-profit group said it is investigating whether the killings of the journalists were linked to their work and has also pushed for Mexican authorities to start “immediate and credible” investigations into the murders of the two Guerrero journalists.

Veracruz’s State Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the killing of Vazquez, adding that it was also looking into why protective measures offered to the journalist were not fully implemented.

Mexico is one of the lowest ranked countries in the world for press freedom.

The latest Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index puts it at 144 out of 180 countries and says nine journalists have been killed in the country since the start of this year.

Picture: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

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