Journalist killed in Mexico, the 15th to die this year

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MEXICO CITY — A journalist who ran a local online news program was shot dead Monday in southern Mexico, making him the 15th media worker killed so far this year nationwide.

Prosecutors in the southern state of Guerrero said on Monday that Fredid Román was shot dead in the state capital, Chilpancingo.

Román’s program, “The Reality of Guerrero”, was heavily focused on state-level politics. He also wrote a column.

Guerrero is a state where drug gangs, armed militiamen and other groups regularly clash.

The year 2022 has been one of the deadliest on record for journalists in Mexico, which is now considered the most dangerous country for journalists outside of a war zone.

Prosecutors did not immediately release further details about the murder of Román, who local media said had previously published a newspaper under the same name and was shot inside his vehicle.

The killing comes just a week after freelance journalist Juan Arjón López was found dead in the northern border state of Sonora. Prosecutors said he died of a blow to the head. His body was found in San Luis Rio Colorado, across the border from Yuma, Arizona.

This region has been plagued by drug cartel violence in recent years. In March, volunteer searchers found 11 bodies in clandestine burial pits in a stretch of desert near a landfill in San Luis.

In early August, a journalist was among four people killed at a beer store in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Authorities said it was unclear whether the attack was related to the journalist’s work, his role representing local businesses in planning an upcoming fair or something else.

While organized crime is often implicated in the killings of journalists, small town officials or politicians with political or criminal motivations are often also suspects. Journalists who run small news outlets inside Mexico are easy targets.

Jan-Albert Hootsen, the Mexican representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote after the murder of Arjón López that “although some arrests have taken place in previous cases of journalist killings this year, a climate of Persistent impunity continues to fuel these attacks.”

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