Mexican journalist Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, director of the news website Enlace Informativo Regional, was shot dead Wednesday night in his home in Veracruz, one of the deadliest states for journalists in Mexico.
Vazquez had said he was under death threats after publishing stories about a notary and authorities of the former government of the Tecolutla municipality. He filed a formal complaint but the government failed to provide him proper security measures.
The journalist was killed in his home in the Gutierrez Zamora municipality, north of east coast state of Veracruz. He worked for different local newspapers and media outlets, including La Opinion de Poza Rica, Noreste and Vanguardia.
“We're being told by workmates in the area that he had been threatened by a mayor and a local public notary. That's something that authorities should take into account,” said Ana Laura Perez, president of the Attention and Protection to Journalists Commission (CEAPP).
This is the fifth journalist killed in Veracruz since governor Miguel Angel Yunes Linares took office on December 2016 and the third one nationwide just in 2018.
Article 19, an international organization that defends freedom of expression and right to information, registered 1,986 aggressions against journalists in Mexico under the administration of current president Enrique Peña Nieto.
The organization reported that the government was responsible for about 48 percent of the registered aggressions, while organized crime was responsible for only eight percent. They also complained that it is very difficult to determine responsibilities since there is “a lack of diligent, exhaustive, complete and unbiased investigations.”
“We need a prosecutor that is actually autonomous, that makes exhaustive and unbiased investigations, and for that you need political will,” said Ana Ruelas, Article 19 director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mexico is one of the deadliest countries in the world to be a journalist. In 2017, Reporters Without Borders registered 11 murders in the North American nation, declaring it the most dangerous country for journalists along with Syria.