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Monday, 09 January 2012

Mexican Journalist Murdered

Reporter in Monterrey Killed by Unknown Gunmen 

By: Steven M. Ellis, Press Freedom Adviser

Journalists carry crosses wrapped in newspaper while walking to the Attorney General's office in Ciudad Juarez on 30 Sept. 2011. Journalists planted crosses at the fence of the building in protest of the unresolved murders of journalists. Photo: REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

VIENNA, 9 Jan. 2012 – Unknown gunmen shot a Mexican journalist dead on Friday in the country’s first murder of a journalist this year.

AP reported that journalist Raul Quirino Garza, a municipal employee who also worked for local weekly newspaper La Ultima Palabra, was killed on Friday in the state of Monterrey.

A spokesman for the state detectives agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, reportedly told AP that Quirino Garza was shot while driving a new car in the municipality of Cadereyta. The spokesman also indicated that gunmen may have mistaken Quirino Garza for a rival or wanted the car.

International Press Institute (IPI) Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of Mr. Quirino Garza and we urge Mexican authorities to conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation into his death. The murder of Mr. Quirino Garza is a grim reminder this early in the year of how dangerous it is to be a media worker in Mexico.”

IPI last week labelled Mexico the most dangerous country in the world for journalists in 2011, pointing to 10 reporters and media workers listed on IPI’s Death Watch who were killed while on assignment or because of their work. A total of 12 journalists died because of their work in the country in 2010, and media killings have spiralled since 2006 as the government battles ruthless drug gangs.

Latin America overall has become a hot spot for journalists’ killings, and the region was the deadliest for journalists in 2011 with 36 killed.

In related news, Brazilian journalist Laecio de Souza was killed on 3 January in Salvador, the capital city of Bahia state. De Souza, a reporter for Rádio Sucesso in Camaçari, was reportedly killed minutes after he received a threatening call on his mobile phone. Initial reports suggest de Souza, who was constructing a storage facility for the community on his property at the time of his death, was killed by drug traffickers who opposed his social activism.