MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) — Two journalists were shot to death in the state of Veracruz, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the number of communicators killed so far this year to eleven, which has been considered the deadliest for the Mexican press, state authorities announced Monday.
The journalist Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi, director of the portal El Veraz, and the reporter Sheila Johana García Olivera, who also worked for the outlet, died in the municipality of Cosoleacaque, the Veracruz State Prosecutor’s Office indicated on its Twitter account when announcing the opening. of an investigation into the case.
Veracruz prosecutor Verónica Hernández Giadáns said in a statement that “there will be no impunity, all lines of investigation will be exhausted, including his journalistic activity.”
State authorities activated the “Red Code” operation to start the search and location of the aggressors.
The Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection said on its Twitter account that it made operational and investigative capacities available to the governor of the entity and the State Prosecutor’s Office to collaborate in clarifying the facts.
“We will find the perpetrators of this crime, there will be justice and there will be no impunity,” the official governor of Veracruz, Cuitláhuac García, said on his social network account.
In confirming the murders, the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists indicated that the communicators died in an attack with firearms when they were outside a self-service store.
The deaths occur less than a week after the murder of journalist Luis Enrique Ramírez Ramos, whose body was found on May 5 wrapped in a black plastic bag on a dirt road near the town of Culiacán, in the northern state of Culiacan. Sinaloa.
The news site for which Ramírez Ramos worked, “Fuentes Fidedignas,” reported that he had been kidnapped near his home.
A handful of people gathered on Monday afternoon at the Angel of Independence monument, in the center of the Mexican capital, to protest the murder of Ramírez Ramos and other communicators.
Mexico is the most violent country in the Western Hemisphere for the practice of journalism, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based activist body for the protection of the press. According to their data, nine journalists were killed in 2021 in the country.
The difficulty in clarifying the murders of reporters and activists is a serious problem in Mexico, according to the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, who admitted in December that impunity in these cases exceeds 90 %.
The victims, like those who died on Monday, are mostly members of small, local media outlets. El Veraz operated a Facebook page and seemed to publish almost exclusively notices about events or public information from the municipal government.
Mexico’s state and federal governments have been criticized for failing to prevent the killings or sufficiently investigate them.
Although President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised a “zero impunity” program to investigate the murders, the majority of homicides in Mexico are never solved by the authorities. López Obrador has also maintained his usual verbal attacks on journalists critical of his government.
In February, the Inter-American Press Association called on the president to “immediately suspend the attacks and insults, because this type of attack from the top of power encourages violence against the press.”
A month later, the European Union approved a resolution in which it called on the authorities, and in particular the highest ones, to “refrain from issuing any statement that could stigmatize human rights defenders, journalists and workers of the media, exacerbate the environment against him or distort his lines of investigation.”