MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, and the few cases in which killers go to jail have not made a dent in such violence, a journalism advocacy group said Tuesday.
A report from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that "endemic impunity allows criminal gangs, corrupt officials, and cartels to silence their critics" in Mexico, where it said over 50 journalists and media workers have been killed since 2010.
A case in point was the Jan. 21, 2016, killing of Marcos Hernandez Bautista, who was a reporter for the newspaper Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca.
In March, a court in the southern state of Oaxaca convicted a former municipal police commander in the killing and sentenced him to 30 years. But the former mayor who the commander said ordered the slaying was not tried.
Journalists came under fire across the country in the ensuing weeks, resulting in March becoming the deadliest month for the press in Mexico in recent memory.
On March 2, Cecilio Pineda Birto, a freelancer, was slain in southern Guerrero state.
Newspaper columnist Ricardo Monlui was killed March 19 in Veracruz state. Armando Arrieta Granados, news editor for the newspaper La Opinion de Poza Rica, was seriously wounded by a gunman in late March in the same state.
A reporter for the newspaper La Jornada, Miroslava Breach, was shot to death March 23 outside her home in the northern city of Chihuahua.
A bodyguard protecting threatened journalist Julio Omar Gomez was fatally shot in the Baja California Sur resort of San Jose del Cabo. In April, in that state's capital, La Paz, a bullet killed Maximino Rodriguez, who worked for a local internet portal called Colectivo Pericu.
On Tuesday, the state prosecutor's office in the central state of Morelos announced that it was investigating the slaying of radio journalist Filiberto Alvarez on Saturday in Tlaquiltenango. The statement said Alvarez was shot when he returned home. Local media said Alvarez worked for Radio Senal in Jojutla.
As is often the case in homicides involving journalists, Morelos authorities said a preliminary investigation suggested the killing had nothing to do with Alvarez's radio work, but they offered no other motives or mentioned possible suspects.
"Convictions in journalists' murders are infrequent and when they do occur .... they are often limited to the perpetrator and authorities fail to establish a motive," the report by Committee to Protect Journalists said.
"By not establishing a clear link to journalism or providing any motives for the killings most investigations remain opaque," the report added. "This lack of accountability perpetuates a climate of impunity that leaves journalists open to attack."
This story has been corrected to show that Armando Arrieta Granados was killed in Veracruz state, not Baja California Sur.