Mexico City (AFP) – A Mexican journalist was found murdered in the northern state of Baja California Sur, the governor said Monday, the first reporter killed this year in what has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.
Rafael Murua, a community radio station director who had received death threats for his work, went missing Sunday night, according to local media reports. Governor Carlos Mendoza confirmed the journalist had been found murdered, condemning the killing.
“This cowardly crime will not go unpunished,” the governor wrote on Twitter.
“My solidarity to the family and all journalists working in Baja California Sur.”
Murua, 34, was under the Mexican government’s protection program for journalists and rights activists, said Balbina Flores, country director for the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
The group reported at least nine journalists’ murders in Mexico last year, making it the third-most-dangerous country to be a reporter after war-torn Afghanistan and Syria.
Racked by violent crime linked to its powerful drug cartels and fueled by political corruption, Mexico has registered more than 100 journalists’ murders since 2000.
The vast majority of the cases have gone unpunished — as do more than 90 percent of violent crimes in Mexico.