The IPI global network of leading editors and journalists strongly condemns the killing of Mexican journalist Juan Carlos Muñiz, who was shot while driving in the state of Zacatecas in north-central Mexico on Friday, March 4. IPI calls on Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate his death and take immediate action to safeguard the country’s journalists from further violence.

Muñiz is the seventh journalist to be killed in Mexico so far in 2022, extending one of the bloodiest periods for reporters in the country in recent years. In 2021, Mexico was the deadliest country in the world for journalists, with seven journalists killed that year, according to IPI’s Death Watch.

Muñiz, a crime reporter for the online news website Testigo Minero and who also worked as a taxi driver, was shot while driving passengers, according to news reports.

The state governor of Zacatecas, David Monreal Ávila, condemned the killing of Muñiz and committed to finding those responsible. “Neither this, nor any other event, can go unpunished”, he said on Twitter.

The high number of killings has raised concerns both in Mexico and internationally. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for “greater accountability and protections for Mexican journalists”.

In recent months, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has faced criticism for the lack of protection for journalists in the country. In January, thousands of journalists protested, demanding justice for their colleagues and calling on President Obrador to take actions to end the violence towards reporters. He has promised “zero impunity” over the killings of journalists in Mexico.

“In the face of this staggering level of violence against Mexico’s journalists, President López Obrador’s promise is welcome – but it’s an empty one until there is real action to hold the perpetrators of these crimes to account”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Impunity is a driving force behind these killings, and yet the Mexican state continues to be unable, or unwilling, to secure justice, year after year. How many more journalists need to die before there is change?”

“IPI condemns in the strongest terms the killing of Juan Carlos Muñiz and we offer our condolences to his family and colleagues. Authorities must fully investigate this murder and bring the mastermind and all others involved to justice.”

Last month, 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.