The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and journalists for press freedom, today condemned the brutal killing of El Salamantino journalist Israel Vázquez Rangel in Mexico and urged the government to increase protection for journalists.

According to media reports, Vázquez Rangel was shot dead on November 9 by unidentified gunmen in the Salamanca district of Guanajuato province. The journalist was about to broadcast a news story on discovery of human remains when the gunmen opened fire. He suffered 11 bullet wounds and was declared dead when brought to hospital.

“The gruesome murder of Vázquez Rangel demonstrates the danger that journalists face in Mexico, which has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “The government should bring the perpetrators to justice and immediately restart funding the programme for protection of journalists.”

Despite Mexico’s being one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work, the government there has decided to stop funds allocated for upholding the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (LPPDHP). Although underfunded, since its establishment in 2012 a federal safety mechanism had benefited over 1,200 individuals, 33 percent of whom were journalists.

Since the beginning of 2020 as many as 10 journalists have been killed in Mexico, according to IPI’s Death Watch. Mexico continues to be on top of the list of countries where impunity for crimes against journalists is extremely high and arrests have been made only in one of the cases reported since October 2019.