Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mexican journalist deaths continue to rise: 75 since 2000, 9 in 2011 - and 2012's first

Mexico's first reported death of a journalist in the new year occurred Friday afternoon (Jan. 6) in a town about 25 miles from Monterrey, in the state of Nuevo León. Reporter Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, who worked for La Última Palabra ("The Latest Word"), was chased down by armed gunmen who shot him on a city street about 5:00 p.m., and then took his car. Authorities have not suggested a motive or named suspects. Nearby Monterrey is a city of considerable violence, with a heavy presence of the Los Zetas drug cartel.

According to press sources, the town where Garza Quirino was murdered is home to the largest fuel refinery in northern Mexico. An organized crime group in the area specializes in the theft of gasoline on a commercial scale, and more than 30 refinery workers have disappeared in recent months. Garza Quirino had reported on these and related topics.

Mexico remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, according to some international organizations. At least 75 have been killed or disappeared under mysterious circumstances since 2000, and 11 died in 2011. Most have been executed at the hands of presumed narcotics traffickers, drug cartels or organized crime groups.

Jan. 11: U.S. ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne announced today that the United States will donate $5 million over the next four years to organizations and programs which focus on providing greater protection for Mexican journalists, especially those covering federal government affairs. He offered no details, but noted that the aid would be pursuant to an agreement with Freedom House, a Washington, D.C. research institute and think tank which promotes democracy and human rights issues around the world. Ambassador Wayne, who wrote for the Christian Science Monitor for two years in the 1980's, told reporters during the announcement, "I truly value the role of journalists in keeping the citizenry well informed on matters of vital interest."

U.N. says Mexico is death zone for journalists:
Many challenges to a free press throughout Latin America:
Woman reporter brutally executed in Veracruz:
Amnesty International demands action in case of murdered journalist:
Journalistic group files legal complaint against Mexico over reporters' deaths:
Veracruz newspaper hit by arson attack:

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