A Mexican journalist was “murdered” on Sunday night in Tijuana, Baja California state (northwest), less than a week after a press photographer was shot dead in the same town, the regional prosecutor’s office reported.
Lourdes Maldonado has “been attacked with a firearm, while she was in a vehicle,” the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) reported in a statement.
“He worked as a journalist,” said the FGE, announcing that the crime will be investigated.
Lourdes Maldonado worked as a correspondent in Tijuana starting in the 1990s for a Mexican media outlet.
He later collaborated in various media, including First News System (PSN), by Jaime Bonilla, who was governor of Baja-California from 2019 to 2021, within a political coalition supporting the ruling Morena party.
The victim had won a labor lawsuit against PSN for abusive dismissal a few days ago.
Maldonado went in 2019 to one of the morning conferences of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to ask him for help in the labor trial against Jaime Bonilla.
“I come here to ask you for support, help and labor justice because I fear for my life,” he said on this occasion.
The president had referred her to his “social communication coordinator” (spokesperson).
“So that he attends to you, supports you so that justice is requested, and that there is no influence (cronyism, nepotism),” the president said at the time.
The delegate of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Mexico, Balbina Flores, told AFP that “it remains to be confirmed” whether Maldonado had official protection.
These crimes “send the message that journalists are killed and nothing happens because there is no one to stop them” to the aggressors, denounced Balbina Flores.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ, for its acronym in English) declared on Twitter “shocked” by the murder of Maldonado and asked “the authorities to investigate the attack thoroughly and transparently.”
– Impunity –
Last Monday, photojournalist Margarito Martínez, a contributor to the weekly Zeta and foreign media, was also assassinated in Tijuana.
His body was found next to a vehicle in a residential area of this city bordering the United States. According to the prosecution, the reporter was shot dead.
On January 10, in the city of Xalapa, in the state of Veracruz, journalist Jose Luis Gamboa received several stab wounds in the street and was taken to the hospital, where he died four days later.
The State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) asked the authorities to investigate the attack.
The communicator no longer worked in the media but did analyzes on social networks in which he denounced the complicity of politicians with organized crime.
In 2021, according to an AFP count, at least seven journalists were murdered in Mexico, although it has not been proven in all cases that their deaths were due to their work.
Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism, with more than a hundred communicators murdered since 2000, according to figures from the Human Rights Commission (ombudsman).
In 2020, eight journalists were killed, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). More than 90% of the homicides of communicators in the country remain unpunished, denounce organizations that defend freedom of expression.