A Mexican journalist who was also a former local official was shot dead Tuesday in the country’s central Puebla region, authorities said. Marco Aurelio Ramirez, 69, was killed in broad daylight as he left his home in the town of Tehuacan. He had worked for decades for several different media outlets.
An investigation into the crime was opened, the prosecutor’s office said.
In a tweet, press freedom organization Article 19 said Ramirez worked in the Tehuacán mayor’s office in 2018 and recently practiced as a lawyer and collaborated with media.
The Mexican branch of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that Ramirez, working as a civil servant, had contributed to the arrest of suspected criminals.
“RSF calls for a swift and transparent investigation,” the non-governmental media rights group said, to determine “whether the homicide was related to his work as a municipal official or to his practice of journalism.”
More than 150 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, according to RSF. Most of the murders have gone unpunished.
“Collusion between officials and organized crime poses a grave threat to journalists’ safety and cripples the judicial system at all levels,” RSF says about Mexico. “Journalists who cover sensitive political stories or crime, especially at the local level, are warned, threatened and then often gunned down in cold blood.
Last year was one of the deadliest years ever for journalists in Mexico, which is now considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone.
Last month, RSF called on Mexican authorities to relaunch an investigation into the cold case murder of reporter Regina Martinez, who was found strangled in the bathroom of her home in 2012.
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