The IPI global network is alarmed by the continued cycle of violence against journalists and media workers in Mexico after journalist Fredid Román was shot dead in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern state of Guerrero on Monday, August 22. Román is the 15th media worker to be killed in Mexico this year. IPI calls on authorities to carry out a swift and thorough investigation and bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice.
Román, the founder of the weekly La Realidad and a columnist, was fatally shot inside his car by unidentified attackers on a motorcycle on August 22 in Chilpancingo. The journalist died of his injuries on the scene, according to local media reports.
In his work, Román focused heavily on state-level politics. The killing came after he posted a column on the alleged involvement of local politicians in the disappearance of 43 students in 2014 which was called a “crime of the state” by a government truth commission last week.
The killing of Román occurred only one week after freelance journalist Juan Arjón López was found dead in the border city of San Luis Río Colorado in the state of Sonora, northern Mexico. According to the state prosecutor’s office, the reporter appeared to have died from a violent blow to the head.
So far, 15 media workers have now been killed in Mexico this year, making the country the world’s deadliest for the media outside of war zones. In 2021, Mexico also had the highest number of murdered journalists worldwide with seven killed journalists, according to IPI data.
“We are deeply alarmed by the killing of Fredid Román and the continuing escalation of violence toward journalists in Mexico. We demand that the authorities take press freedom seriously by taking concrete action to end the epidemic of impunity for these crimes”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said.
“IPI calls on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this killing and determine whether Fredid Román was targeted in retaliation to his work. Authorities must end this deadly pattern of violence”, added Brouillette.
Since the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in 2018, attacks on the press have skyrocketed. The president himself often unleashes verbal attacks against the media. The vast majority of the killings of journalists in Mexico go unpunished.
In February the president promised “zero impunity” over the killings of journalists in Mexico but only a month later angrily rejected a resolution passed by the European Parliament condemning the recent spate of violence against the press in Mexico and criticizing Obrador’s use of rhetoric “to denigrate and intimidate independent journalists, media owners and activists”.