Ruben Espinosa is one of over 100 journalists killed in Mexico in the last 15 years, according to official figures by the attorney general’s office, which show 25 more are missing.
The attorney general reported in February that 103 journalists had died since 2000, with the northern states of Chihuahua and Veracruz topping the list as the most deadly, with 16 journalist deaths each.
Espinosa had fled the southeastern state of Veracruz, fearing for his life, after receiving death threats from the government of state Governor Javier Duarte.
Duarte sent a strong message to journalists in his state in July, during a public event to commemorate the Free Speech Week, when he said to them, “Please behave, I beg you. It's for your own good.”
Since Duarte took office in 2010, 14 journalists have been killed while five remain disappeared. The attorney general's office said under Duarte, journalism-related deaths have been steadily increasing.
The deaths of Espinosa and the four women he was murdered with have sparked protests. The National Human Rights Commission is investigating.
Mexico is the second most dangerous country to be a journalist — even more so than Syria, which has experienced 79 journalist deaths. Iraq remains in first place, with about 179 journalists killed since 1992.
*This article has been edited from its original version.