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25/07/2018 | Mexico - Journalist murdered in southeast Mexico near tourist hotspot

AFP

Mexico City - A journalist has been murdered in southeast Mexico, not far from tourist hotspot Cancun, the government said on Tuesday -- the seventh such killing in the country this year.

 

"Ruben Pat, editor in chief at the Playa News weekly, was shot dead this morning" in the Playa del Carmen area, the Quintana Roo state government announced.

Pat was the second journalist from Playa News based in Playa del Carmen, which is located south of Cancun along the Caribbean Sea, murdered in less than a month, after his colleague Jose Guadalupe Chan.

Pat spoke to AFP at the end of June about threatening phone calls Chan had received. Chan worked as a correspondent in an indigenous Mayan area.

The Quintana Roo Human Rights Committee demanded action by local authorities over the two murders, saying: "Enough attacks against freedom of expression," which it described as "a fundamental pillar of democracy."

Prosecutors said Pat was shot at about 6:00 am outside a bar. Emergency services pronounced him dead upon arriving at the scene.

Prosecutors said the incident was meant to "intimidate" other journalists.

On its Facebook page, Playa News demanded answers from the state government about Pat's murder.

Pat was known to publish stories about police successes in the area, which is infested with numerous organized crime gangs.

Mexico was the second most dangerous place in the world for journalists last year, behind only civil war-wracked Syria, with 11 murdered, according to Reporters Without Borders.

According to various freedom of speech organizations, more than 100 have been killed in the country since 2000. The vast majority of those crimes have gone unpunished.

The other five murders this year happened in Tamaulipas (two) in the northeast, Guerrero in the south, and Veracruz and Tabasco in the east.

All of those areas are known for high levels of organized crime, with which authorities are often accused of collusion.

Intimidation of journalists in those areas is commonplace, but journalism isn't the only risky profession in Mexico.

Between September and presidential elections on July 1, at least 145 politicians were killed.

Five of the eight most violent cities in the world are located in Mexico, according to government statistics for 2017.

Los Cabos in the country's northwest topped that list with 111 murders per 100,000 citizens.

Quintana Roo has suffered its share of drug-related violent crime.

Five people were killed in January 2017 in Playa del Carmen after a gunman opened fire in a crowded nightclub during a music festival.

Some 279 people were killed in drug trafficking related violence in the state in the first half of the year, according to Semaforo Delictivo, an organization that compiles crime statistics.

Quintana Roo nonetheless contains many of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, particularly among visitors from the US and Europe.

Yahoo News (Estados Unidos)

 



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