Mexican journalist killed while under state protection in Veracruz

Another journalist from Veracruz, Mexico has been killed, this time while under state protection.

On July 21, police reporter Pedro Tamayo Rosas was shot multiple times in front of his wife and children outside his house in Tierra Blanca. He died on the way to the hospital.

He is the tenth journalist in Mexico, and the third from Veracruz, to be killed or to die under unclear circumstances this year.

The Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Against Journalist went to Tierra Blanca to monitor the investigation and protocol that would follow all lines of investigation and not discount his work as a journalist, said El Piñero de la Cuenca, the newspaper where Tamayo Rosas was a correspondent.

The State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP for its acronym in Spanish) condemned the murder and said it would monitor state efforts to follow all lines of investigation.

Tamayo Rosas had been under the protection of the CEAPP since being threatened in January 2016, according to Proceso. Following the threats, he left Veracruz, but was later found in Oaxaca.

A family told AFP that shortly before the Tamayo Rosa’s death, a patrol passed by his house while making its daily rounds.

Tamayo Rosas is “the first murdered reporter who counted on ‘precautionary measures’ at the local level,” according to Proceso.

In addition to working for El Piñero de la Cuenca, Tamayo Rosas collaborated with other outlets around the state. Sin Embargo said he wrote about disappearances, kidnappings, the discovery of corpses, executions and the handing over of state police to cartel members.

“He currently worked under the pseudonym “En la línea de Fuego” (In the line of Fire) and documented cases of violence in his hometown: Tierra Blanca,” El Piñero said in a report about his death.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the murder. Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the organization’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said “enough of the barbaric acts against journalists in Mexico that are doubly violent due to the lack of justice and the inability to solve murders and other attacks.”

2016 has been a deadly year for journalists in Mexico. In June alone, three journalists in Mexico were either murdered or died under unclear circumstances. Elidio Ramos Zárate, a reporter at El Sur newspaper, was shot in Oaxaca on June 19. Freelance reporter Zamira Esther Bautista was shot outside her home in Tamaulipas on June 20. And community radio host Salvador Olmos García was run over by a police car in Oaxaca on June 26.

Veracruz is regarded by freedom of expression organizations as one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for journalists.

Two other journalists from Veracruz were also killed this year. Editor-in-chief of Noticias MT, Manuel Torres González, was shot in the municipality of Poza Rica on May 14. Reporter Anabel Flores Salazar was kidnapped from her home in Veracruz on Feb. 8 and her body was found in neighboring Puebla the next day.

Following Tamayo Rosas’ death, freedom of expression organization Article 19 Mexico said Veracruz was a failed state and that there was a state policy to limit freedom of expression, according to SinEmbargo.

Ana Ruelas, director of the organization, told the news outlet that 17 journalists have been killed during Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte’s administration. She emphasized that impunity is one of the biggest problems in the state and that authorities dismiss the persons’ work as journalists, the outlet said.

El Piñero de la Cuenca demanded justice from Duarte and said “his administration remains an accomplice of barbarism.”

Government officials have said that there are 33 journalists in Veracruz under “precautionary measures,” according to Proceso.

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.