Mexican journalist killed while at Christmas celebration at son’s school is fourth journalist killed in Veracruz this year

A threatened Mexican crime reporter was killed in Veracruz during a Christmas celebration at his son’s school in Acayucan.

Three people reportedly followed Gumaro Pérez Aguilando to a primary school in Acayucan on the morning of Dec. 19 and shot him nine times, according to Animal Político.

Pérez Aguilando, founder of and crime reporter for La Voz del Sur, had been part of the safe coverage preventive program of the State Commission for Care and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP, for its acronym in Spanish) since 2015, according to the commission.

Ana Laura Pérez Mendoza, president of CEAPP, said Gumaro Pérez asked to be in the program because of reports he was doing, according to Milenio. Though Pérez Mendoza said the journalist never reported receiving threats, she also said she just learned Pérez Aguilando had been threatened recently and had differences with a media outlet where he worked, the publication added.

However, news site Sin Embargo reported that Pérez Aguilando, who was also an employee of the city council and reportedly worked at other outlets, had received threats since 2015.

Proceso cited Diario del Sur as saying that Aguilando was beaten by a lawyer at the public prosecutor’s office in 2012. At the time, he was gathering information about assaults, it added.

Sin Embargo noted that earlier this year, Pérez Aguilando and his colleagues had demanded justice for Cándido Ríos Vásquez, a journalist for El Diario de Acayucan who was killed in Veracruz on Aug. 22, 2017. They also demanded protection from the federal government for journalists in the state. Pérez Aguilando started his career as a crime reporter at El Diario de Acayucan and then worked for newspaper El Mañanero, according to EnlaceVeracruz212.com.mx.

Miguel Ángel Yunes, governor of Veracruz, posted on Twitter that he asked the Secretary of Public Security to protect the journalist’s family and said the state Attorney General sent a special group to investigate the case.

This is the fourth murder of a journalist in the state of Veracruz this year. Columnist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera of El Político was killed in Yanga on March 19. Honduran cameraman Edwin Rivera was also killed in Acayucan on July 9. And Cándido Ríos Vázquez, reporter for El Diario de Acayucan, was killed in Hueyapan de Ocampo on Aug. 22.

Pérez Aguilando is the 12th* journalist killed in Mexico this year. In its annual roundup released Dec. 19, Reporters Without Borders (RSF, for its acronym in French) said Mexico and Syria are the deadliest countries for reporters. “Of countries not at war, Mexico was the deadliest for reporters in 2017, as it was last year,” the organization said.

Editor’s note: Organizations have varying criteria and therefore different counts for the number of journalists killed. For this reason, some organizations may provide a more conservative number for journalists killed in Mexico this year.

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.