Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, and the few cases in which killers go to jail have not made a dent in such violence, a journalism advocacy group said Tuesday. A report from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that ”endemic impunity allows criminal gangs, corrupt officials, and cartels to silence their critics” in Mexico, where it said over 50 journalists and media workers have been killed since 2010.
A case in point was the Jan. 21, 2016, killing of Marcos Hernandez Bautista, who was a reporter for the newspaper Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca. Last month, a court in the southern state of Oaxaca convicted a former municipal police commander in the killing and sentenced him to 30 years. But the former mayor who the commander said ordered the slaying was not tried.
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Within days of the conviction, journalists were coming under fire across the country, resulting in March becoming the deadliest month for the press in Mexico in recent memory. On March 2, Cecilio Pineda Birto, a freelancer, was slain in southern Guerrero state.
Newspaper columnist Ricardo Monlui was killed March 19 in Veracruz state. A reporter for the newspaper La Jornada, Miroslava Breach, was shot to death March 23 outside her home in the northern city of Chihuahua.
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A bodyguard protecting threatened journalist Julio Omar Gomez was fatally shot in the Baja California resort of San Jose del Cabo. In the same state, Armando Arrieta Granados, news editor for the newspaper La Opinion de Poza Rica, was seriously wounded by a gunman in late March. In April, in La Paz on the Baja California peninsula, Maximino Rodriguez, who worked for a local internet portal called Colectivo Pericu, was shot to death.
”Convictions in journalists’ murders are infrequent and when they do occur …. they are often limited to the perpetrator and authorities fail to establish a motive,” the report said. ”By not establishing a clear link to journalism or providing any motives for the killings most investigations remain opaque,” the report added. ”This lack of accountability perpetuates a climate of impunity that leaves journalists open to attack.”