A journalist was among four people killed inside a bar in central Mexico, becoming at least the 13th media worker killed in the country this year.
San Luis de la Paz Mayor Luis Sánchez said Ernesto Méndez, director of the news site Tu Voz, or Your Voice, was with four other men when they were attacked. The fifth person was seriously wounded and taken to a hospital, he said.
Guanajuato Gov. Diego Rodríguez Vallejo “strongly condemned” the Tuesday night killings via Twitter Wednesday.
Sánchez said that at this point it was unknown whether the attack was related to Méndez’s journalistic work, his role as representative of local businesses in the planning of an upcoming fair or something else.
Press freedom organization Article 19 called on the government to offer protection to Méndez’s colleagues and relatives.
⚠️ ARTICLE 19 conoce del asesinato de Ernesto Méndez, director del medio “Tú Voz,” ocurrido ayer alrededor de las 23 hrs en San Luis de la Paz, #Guanajuato
El crimen se perpetró cuando un comando armando irrumpió en un bar propiedad de la familia de Méndez
📸: Zona Franca pic.twitter.com/FekBVdSNpT
— ARTICLE 19 MX-CA (@article19mex) August 3, 2022 Méndez had also worked until three years ago at the news site Zona Franca, according to its director Carmen Martínez.
Zona Franca said that he had received threats in the past, AFP reported. It said he was celebrating with family and friends when a bar his family owned was attacked.
It was not immediately clear whether Méndez was enrolled in the federal government’s protection program for journalists and human rights defenders under threat.
While organized crime is often involved in journalist killings, small town officials or politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects as well. Journalists running small news outlets in Mexico’s interior are easy targets.
Guanajuato, a thriving industrial region, has become one of Mexico’s most violent states due to turf wars between rival gangs fighting for control of trafficking routes for drugs and stolen fuel.
Other Mexican journalists killed in 2022In June, journalist Antonio de la Cruz was shot to death in northeastern Mexico as he was leaving his house with his 23-year-old daughter. His daughter later died from wounds suffered in the attack that killed her father
In May, two colleagues at a news site were shot to death in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The Veracruz State Prosecutor’s Office said it was investigating the killings of Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi and Sheila Johana García Olivera, the director and a reporter, respectively, of the online news site El Veraz in Cosoleacaque.
In March, prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan said reporter Armando Linares was shot to death at a home in the town of Zitacuaro. His killing came six weeks after the slaying of a colleague, Roberto Toledo, from the same outlet, Monitor Michoacan. It was Linares who announced Toledo’s death Jan. 31 in a video posted to social media.
In early March, gunmen killed Juan Carlos Muñiz, who covered crime for the online news site Testigo Minero in the state of Zacatecas.
Jorge Camero, the director of an online news site who was until recently a municipal worker in the northern state of Sonora, was killed in late February.
In early February, Heber López, director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot to death in the southern state of Oaxaca.
Reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot to death inside her car in Tijuana on Jan. 23. In a news conference in 2019, Maldonado Lopez told Mexico’s president she feared for her life.
Reporter José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz on Jan. 10
Crime photographer Margarito Martínez was gunned down outside his Tijuana home on Jan. 17. Guillermo Arias, whose photographs chronicle life and death in the streets of Tijuana, worked with Martinez for many years.
He recalled the painful experience of covering the murder of his friend and fellow journalist.
“His daughter arrived and asked me not to photograph her dad’s body,” Arias told CBS News.