MEXICO CITY, March 17 — A Mexican journalist shot dead at his home has become the third newsman killed so far this year in Mexico, authorities said yesterday.
The killing of Santiago Barroso adds to a toll of more than 100 media workers murdered in the country over the last seven years, coinciding with a wave of violent crime driven by powerful drug cartels and fuelled by political corruption.
“I regret the cowardly attack in which journalist Santiago Barroso was killed,” said Santos Gonzalez, mayor of San Luis Rio Colorado, the town where the journalist lived, in Sonora state which borders the United States.
The spokesman for the Mexican president’s office, Jesus Ramirez, voiced “outrage at this attack on free speech.”
Barroso, 47, was shot at home Friday night and rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, said Contrasena, the online weekly he worked for.
Two unidentified assailants who arrived together at the reporter’s home knocked on his door and when he opened it, Barroso was shot three times point blank, Contrasena said.
Local media have reported that Barroso was working on stories about drug trafficking in his town.
On Feb 9 a radio journalist was shot dead in Tabasco state, east of Mexico City, after a community radio station director was murdered in the northern state of Baja California Sur early in the year.
Barroso’s case comes after Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday said it had asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the murders of 102 journalists in Mexico from 2012 to 2018, calling the rash of killings a crime against humanity.
The watchdog group ranks Mexico as one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, behind only war-torn Afghanistan and Syria.
A vast majority of the murders have gone unpunished, as do more than 90 percent of violent crimes in Mexico.
The Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Barroso’s murder, and its representative, Jan Jarab, said that only with the effective resolution of such cases “can a clear message of support be sent to those who practice journalism”.
RSF called for an exhaustive investigation of the latest killing. — AFP