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Mexico22 November 2006

Vera Cruz crime reporter becomes seventh journalist murdered this year in Mexico, making it second-most dangerous country for press, after Iraq

Reporters Without Borders said it was horrified by yesterday’s murder of Roberto Marcos García, the deputy editor of the weekly Testimonio, in the eastern state of Vera Cruz. García was the third journalist to be killed this month in Mexico and the seventh since the start of the year. Only Iraq has been deadlier than Mexico for the press in 2006.

“President Vicente Fox’s term of office is ending with the grim toll of 20 journalists murdered, without any of the instigators of these killings every being bothered by the authorities,” the press freedom organisation said. “Last year Mexico became the western hemisphere’s deadliest country for the press. Now, as it prepares to install a new president on 1 December, it ranks as the second deadliest country in the world, surpassed only by Iraq.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “When will the bloodshed stop? The situation demands action by politicians, police and judicial authorities, and the media themselves. Additional resources must be given to the special prosecutor’s office in charge of investigating attacks on the press. The Mexican media and journalists’ organisations must also bring their influence to bear in the follow-up of investigations and the fight against impunity.”

A crime and politics reporter and correspondent for the magazine Alarma as well as deputy editor of the regional weekly Testimonio, García was murdered on his way back from interviewing water-borne law enforcement specialists in Madinga, in Vera Cruz state. On the road between Alvarado and the city of Vera Cruz, he was knocked off his motorcycle by a Chrysler PT Cruiser with a Mexico City number plate. The killer or killers dragged him along the road before pumping at least six 9 mm bullets into his body. The local press spoke of 12 bullet wounds.

The local police told Reporters Without Borders that the vehicle used by the killers, which was found abandoned a few miles from the murder scene, had been stolen in Mexico City on 31 May.

García’s daughter, Divina García, told Reporters Without Borders he had received an anonymous call yesterday morning, just hours before he was murdered. She also said he had recently been the target of threats. Nonetheless, he had not requested police protection.

The modus operandi used in García’s murder was similar to that used in the killing of Raúl Gibb Guerrero, the editor of the regional daily La Opinión, on a Vera Cruz state road in April 2005.

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