The IPI global network condemns the killing of Mexican journalist Luis Martín Sánchez Íñiguez, who was found dead in the Mexican state of Nayarit after going missing last week. He is at least the fourth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year. IPI urgently calls on the Mexican government to thoroughly investigate all cases of crimes against journalists, and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

The body of Sánchez, 59, was found outside the city of Tepic early in the morning of July 8. A statement from the state attorney general’s office said his body had “signs of violence” and that a message on cardboard had been stabbed into his chest with a knife, a common practice in killings perpetrated by organized crime groups. Sánchez, who wrote for La Jornada, had been missing since July 5, according to a missing persons report filed by his wife on July 7. He was last seen in the Nayarit town of Xalisco, a municipality notorious for heroin and opium smuggling.

According to La Jornada, state prosecutors said that Sánchez’s journalistic work is the main motive under consideration in their investigation of the crime.

“The killing of Luis Martín Sánchez Íñiguez is yet another example of the deadly environment in which Mexican journalists operate ”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “The Mexican government must take urgent action to end this horrific pattern of journalist murders and impunity for those responsible. All those responsible for threatening, attacking, or killing journalists must be brought to justice.”

In addition to Sánchez’s murder, local authorities are currently investigating two other cases involving Nayarit-based media workers, which the attorney general’s office says are related. Osiris Maldonado de la Paz, who worked for La Jornada in the past, went missing on July 3 and was released by his captors on July 8. On July 7, armed men broke into the home of journalist Jonathan Lora Ramírez and forced him into a car. He has since been found “in a good state of health” according to authorities.

A statement from the Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Sánchez’s killing and called for “a prompt, exhaustive, independent, and effective investigation” into all three crimes against the freedom of the press.

Since January, at least three other Mexican journalists have been murdered this year. On May 23, Marco Aurelio Ramírez Hernández was shot outside his home in the Mexican state of Puebla by armed gunmen. On May 11, Gerardo Torres Rentería was shot in his home in the city of Acapulco, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. On February 13, Abisaí Pérez Romero was found dead under suspicious circumstances in the city of Tula, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, after going missing while investigating possible environmental crimes in the region.

No suspects have yet been arrested in connection with these murders, nor have there been significant advances in any of these cases. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with the vast majority of crimes against the free press going unpunished.