The IPI global network of editors, publishers, and journalists strongly condemns the killing of journalist Armando Linares, who was shot and killed in the Mexican state of Michoacan on March 15. We demand that authorities investigate this murder and hold the perpetrators accountable. The Mexican government must also take immediate action to ensure the safety of the country’s journalists and media workers.
Linares’s murder is a disturbing and tragic continuation of one of the most violent periods for the country’s press in memory. He is the eighth journalist to be slain in Mexico so far in 2022.
On Tuesday, March 15, Linares, the director of online news site Monitor Michoacán, was shot dead at his home in the city of Zitácuaro in the state of Michoacan, according to reports. He is the second journalist to be killed with this news outlet this year.
Six weeks ago, Linares’s colleague, Robert Toledo, was also shot and killed in Zitácuaro. In a video published on Facebook, Linares said he believed that Toledo was targeted for his work exposing corruption.
The killing of Linares highlights the escalating dangers for the press in Mexico, which is the deadliest country in the world for journalists, according to IPI’s Death Watch. More journalists have been killed so far in Mexico in the first 10 weeks of 2022 than in all of 2021, when the country had the highest of number of murdered journalists worldwide.
In February, IPI published a full-page print ad in The Washington Post calling on Mexico to end impunity for the many horrific killings of journalists in the country. At least 150 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the last 25 years, according to IPI’s monitoring data.
The spate of killings has sparked outcry from journalists in Mexico, who have called on Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador to take action to end the violence towards reporters. In February, Obrador promised “zero impunity” over the killings of journalists in Mexico.
However, just last week Obrador rebuffed mounting international criticism over the escalating violence toward the country’s journalists. Obrador 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”. Obrador called the MEPs “sheep” of “reactionary” conservative “coup-mongers,” according to reports. Later, the president appeared to play down the killings of journalists by comparing the number of slain reporters to the number of overall murders in Mexico.
“President López Obrador’s efforts to minimize and distract from Mexico’s spiralling violence against journalists are unconscionable and utterly shameful”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “The global spotlight is rightly on Mexico amid the country’s failure to stop this bloodshed. The silencing of a journalist, in addition to the tragic loss of life, is an attack on democracy, with severe consequences for the public’s right to information. In a country where journalists are being hunted down week after week, it is extremely urgent that the government start working to secure justice for these abhorrent murders and stop the impunity that fuels them.”