Correspondent and editor killed in Guerrero is fifth journalist killed in Mexico in 2016

  • By
  • April 26, 2016

By Giovana Sanchez

Journalist Francisco Pacheco Beltrán, correspondent of El Sol de Acapulco and radio station Capital Maxima 97.1FM, was killed on April 25 in front of his house in Taxco de Alarcón, Guerrero state, in Mexico. He is the fifth journalist murdered this year in the country.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Pacheco had left his house to take one of his daughters to the bus station around 6:30 a.m. and was shot upon returning, just in front of his house. However, according to magazine Proceso, Pacheco was killed by a group of armed men when he was leaving the house, not returning.

Proceso also reported that the 55-year-old journalist died at the location of the murder while being helped by a rescue team.

Local authorities confirmed to CPJ "that two bullet shell cases were found at the scene of the crime, but said there were apparently no witnesses to the murder," the organization reported. According to CPJ, the journalist had not reported receiving any threats.

“The endless cycle of violence against Mexican journalists is devastating the local press,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, according to an organization press release. “Federal authorities must thoroughly investigate the execution-style murder of Francisco Pacheco Beltrán and exhaust all possible motives, including links to his work as a journalist.”

The Inter American Press Association also condemned the murder and the "lack of protection of members of the press," which leads to a "double silencing" of journalists.

The Mexican Editorial Organization (OEM for its initials in Spanish) also condemned the murder, according to El Sol de México.

Pacheco was also editor of the weekly magazine El Foro de Taxco and had his own website, where, according to CPJ, "he regularly posted articles on regional crime and violence – which in recent years has spiked in relation to organized crime and drug trafficking."

Following his murder, El Foro de Taxco wrote on Twitter this it demanded justice for Pacheco, tagging Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo and President Enrique Peña Nieto, “that his death is not another statistic.”

At least five journalists have been killed in Mexico this year. Moisés Dagdug Lutzow, director and owner of media company Grupo VX, was killed in Tabasco on Feb. 20. Journalist Anabel Flores Salazar was kidnapped on Feb. 8 from her home in Veracruz and found dead a day later in neighboring Puebla. And in January, two journalists were killed in Oaxaca in the span of a weekend. Marcos Hernández Bautista, a correspondent for Noticias Voz e Imagen of Oaxaca, was killed on Jan. 21 and community radio host Reynel Martínez Cerqueda was killed on Jan. 22.

In 2015, a total of seven journalists were killed in the country. Additionally, Mexico saw one attack against journalists every 22 hours, making 2015 the most violence for the country’s press since 2009, according to Article 19 Mexico. Also according to the organization, Guerrero state reported 56 attacks against journalists in 2015 and 11 in the first three months of 2016.

A Tweet from El Foro de Taxco posted on April 25 reads “We confirm the murder of journalist Francisco Pacheco Beltrán, founder of this independent media outlet. Thank you for your condolences."

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.