Photo: Crime news in Latin America
Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into this week’s killing of a crime reporter in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
“We call on the federal authorities to take over this murder investigation,” the Paris-based watchdog group known as RSF said in a statement, referring to Monday’s shooting death of Octavio Rojas Fernandez, a reporter with the El Buen Tono daily who was gunned down outside his home in the town of San Jose Cosolapa.
The watchdog said that town in the northern part of Oaxaca state is “plagued by organized crime and has suffered recent post-election conflicts.”
The journalist’s colleagues told RSF that the killing may be linked to a story that Rojas, who covered crime in San Jose Cosolapa, wrote for the Monday edition of the paper “about a military operation against a criminal gang known as the ‘Chupaductos.’”
The story mentioned “the possibility that the municipal police chief, who became a fugitive from justice a few days ago, may have been a member of the gang,” the watchdog said.
An armed group set fire to the premises of El Buen Tono in 2011, and earlier this year the daily, based in the city of Cordoba, in the neighboring state of Veracruz, said it had been the target of threats.
Investigations into the arson attack and the threats yielded no results, the watchdog said.
Mexico “is staying true to its reputation as Latin America’s deadliest country for media personnel,” RSF said, recalling that it ranks 152nd out of 180 nations in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
In the statement calling for the federal probe, RSF said it had received assurances that Mexico is committed to overhauling its “federal mechanism for protecting journalists” and added that “Veracruz and Oaxaca are notorious for high crime rates attributable to drug cartel activity and local government corruption.”