Mexico, journalism's most dangerous country, starts 2012 with the killing of a reporter in Nuevo León

The same day that the International Press Institute (IPI) named Mexico the world's most dangerous country to practice journalism, an armed gang killed journalist Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino in the border state of Nuevo León on Jan. 6, reported Proceso.

The first journalist killed in Mexico in 2012 worked for the local weekly newspaper La Última Palabra in the city of Cadereyta, a suburb of Monterrey. He was also employed by the local Secretariat of Development and volunteered with the Green Cross.

According to witnesses, the reporter was driving his car at high speeds in attempt to escape an armed group firing at him from two pursuing vehicles, reported Milenio.

The reporter's body was found inside his vehicle in front of a mechanic shop owned by his family. Authorities collected 15 shell casing at the crime scene, reported Univision.

Authorities suggested the motive could have been robbery or a case of mistaken identity, with the group confusing him with a member of a rival gang, according to the news agency Europa Press.

Cadereyta, just north of Mexico's third largest city, is home to the country's largest petroleum refineries and is a locus for drug trafficking and contraband gasoline, both controlled by the Los Zetas Cartel, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French). Since 2007, 38 employes for the state oil company PEMEX have gone missing in the area, according to Milenio.

"We hope the number of Mexican journalists killed in the space of a decade does not reach the grim total of 100 in 2012, an election year," RSF stated on its website. "Mexico could prevent this from happening by taking measures to combat impunity for those responsible for violent crime against journalists," RSF said with Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics.

With 10 journalists killed in 2011 -- one more than in Iraq -- Mexico has become the bloodiest country in the world for the press, according to IPI. Latin America was named the most dangerous region in the world for journalists. Click here for a Knight Center map of attacks on journalists and the press in Mexico.