Second Mexican journalist killed in Tijuana in less than a week News on press freedom

Lourdes Maldonado Lopez was killed days after Margarito Martinez was found dead dead in the Mexican border town.

Authorities in Mexico say a journalist was killed in Tijuana, the second killing of a media worker in the border town in less than a week and the latest in a series of killings in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters.

Lourdes Maldonado Lopez was attacked on Sunday “with a firearm while in a vehicle” in the city bordering the United States, according to the Baja California prosecutor’s office.

The murder comes less than a week after photojournalist Margarito Martinez was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head near his home in Tijuana. A local media rights group said Martinez had received threats from people linked to organized crime before the killing, although it remains unclear whether the shooting was related to his work.

Two years ago, Maldonado Lopez, who worked for several media outlets, asked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for “support, help and justice” as he feared for his life, according to a video re-posted on social media following news of her . murder.

Maldonado Lopez seems to be referring to an ongoing lawsuit against her former employer, the news organization Primer Sistema de Noticias, which is owned by a former governor of Baja California.

She won the case, which allegedly involved an unfair dismissal, days before her murder.

A source familiar with the case told Reuters that Maldonado Lopez had previously been enrolled in a government program to protect journalists, which included some police surveillance of her home.

Human rights groups have condemned the killing, with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calling on authorities to “thoroughly and transparently investigate the attack”.

The group wrote on Twitter that it was “shocked” by her murder.

Reporters Without Borders regularly ranks Mexico as one of the deadliest countries in the world for reporters, along with Afghanistan and Yemen.

Violence is regularly blamed on powerful drug cartels, which kill to discourage journalists from investigating or reporting on their transactions or connections with officials.

Between 2000 and 2021, the human rights group Article 19 recorded 145 murders of journalists in Mexico, seven of whom were killed in 2021.

The group wrote on Twitter that it is so "shocked by the murder of Lourdes Maldonado, the second reporter killed in the city of Tijuana in less than a week."Monument to Marguerite Martinez, a Tijuana-based photojournalist who was shot dead when he left home on January 17 [File: Gregory Bull/The Associated Press]

Human rights groups also called on authorities to investigate a fatal knife attack earlier this month that killed journalist and social media activist Jose Luis Gamboa in the eastern state of Veracruz.

Investigators have not yet said whether the killing was linked to Gamboa’s work.

A media worker was also stabbed to death in the eastern Yucatan state last week, Jan-Albert Hutsen, CPJ’s representative in Mexico, wrote on Twitter.

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