Mexican journalists demand justice for slain colleague

Chilpancingo, Mexico, Jul 16 (EFE).- Journalists gathered Sunday in front of the regional delegation of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office in the southern state of Guerrero to demand that federal authorities take charge of the investigation into the murder of one of their colleagues.

Nelson Matus, founder and editor of the online news outlet Lo Real de Guerrero, was fatally shot Saturday while sitting in his car in a store parking lot in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

The protest began shortly after mid-day in Chilpancingo, the state capital.

Ernesto Alonso Franco, who covers the police beat for the IZRA news agency, complained during the demonstration that unfounded allegations about crime reporters’ being on the payroll of criminal organizations put those journalists at greater risk.

He said that if nothing is done, journalists in Acapulco will be effectively silenced, which he contended has already occurred in other towns in Guerrero, including Iguala, Taxco, Chilapam, and Tixtla.

The growing danger has forced crime reporters to cover stories in teams because venturing out alone is too risky, according to Jessica Torres, a photojournalist with El Sur newspaper.

The head of Section 17 of the SNRP journalists union, Abel Miranda, called on the federal AG Office to assume jurisdiction over cases involving attacks on reporters.

He said that his members also want to see President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Guerrero Gov. Evelyn Salgado, and Acapulco Mayor Abelina Lopez do their part to see that those responsible for the attacks are punished.

Matus is the fourth journalist to be murdered in Acapulco in the last two months, the SNRP says.

Miranda said that officials at all levels of government are complicit in the attempts of organized crime to shut down reporting on their activities.

Citing figures compiled by the press freedom group Article 19, he said that more than 160 media workers have been slain in Mexico since 2006 and that 10 percent of those homicides took place in Guerrero.



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