Tue, 24 May 2022

MEXICO CITY, Mexico: In a blow to the country's press corp, two Mexican journalists who had reported their country's slide into drug and corruption-fuelled violence have been murdered within one week of each other.

On January 17, Margarito Martnez Esquivel, a crime reporter and photographer who often collaborated with members of the foreign media, was shot dead outside his home in the city of Tijuana.

"Unfortunately, I could not do anything for him," said his wife, Elena Martnez, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

His death came one week after another journalist, Jos Luis Gamboa, director of a news website called Inforegio, was fatally stabbed in the state of Veracruz, one of Mexico's most violent regions.

Two days earlier on Twitter, Gamboa call for the appointment of an anti-drug tsar, and last year he lamented how instead of combatting drug trafficking, parts of the government has been sucked into "a great criminal association" with the cartels.

The two killings, in addition to the murders of nine other journalists last year, caused outrage and mourning in Mexico, which is considered the world's most dangerous country for the media outside war zones.

"It is shocking to have this happen so early in the year and to have one murder happen so shortly after the other," said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexican representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, as reported by The Guardian.

The Tijuana-based press collective, Yo S Soy Periodista, demanded a swift investigation into the killing of Martnez, who spent more than two decades documenting the border city's security crisis and worked for weekly newspaper Zeta.

Martnez was the 29th Mexican journalist to be killed since Mexico's president, Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador, took power in December 2018 promising to end the violence, the group added.

As news of Martnez's killing spread, the Facebook page where he would livestream murder scenes was flooded with messages from workmates and politicians.

Michael Robinson Chvez, a Pulitzer-winning photographer for the Washington Post, tweeted Martnez is "a true professional, brave and tenacious. He will be missed."

Hootsen said the killing of journalists was driven by government inaction and impunity, stating, "What it boils down to is that in Mexico if you want to hurt a reporter you can do it and there is a very small chance you will be caught."

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