By Inés Amarelo
Mexico City, Feb 1 (EFE).- The murder of a fourth journalist in Mexico this year has sparked press fury in the country with an unenviable reputation of being one of the most dangerous places for media workers.
Roberto Toledo was shot dead by gunmen Monday in the western state of Michoacán, shocking the Mexican journalistic guild.
“The threats have finally been carried out,” Armando Linares, the director of Monitor Michoacán, the media outlet where the slain journalist worked, told EFE.
Michoacán said Toledo, one of their co-workers, lost his life at the hands of three people who arrived and shot him “in a heartless way, in a cowardly way.”
“We are not armed, we do not bring weapons. Our only defense is a pen,” Linares said.
Toledo was attacked by three armed men in the parking lot of the building that houses Monitor Michoacán in the Zitácuaro city.
The men fired at Toledo several times. He received two shots in the abdomen, one in the chest, one in the arm, and another in the collarbone.
The General Coordinator of Social Communication of the Presidency of Mexico, Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, said on Twitter that the government “condemns the murder.”
“We will work together with the state and municipal government to solve the case. We will not allow impunity. Let us defend freedom of expression and the right to information,” he said.
The attorney general’s office of Michoacán said it was already conducting investigations to determine if the murder was linked to his journalistic activity or his work at a law firm that shared offices with the media outlet.
Although the link between Toledo’s murder and his journalistic work is yet to be confirmed, the director of Monitor Michoacán attributed the incident to the media work in exposing the corrupt practices of the authorities and politicians.
Linares said the entire team of the news portal had received threats, starting a year ago when the outlet exposed the corruption of a former senior official of the state attorney office.
A source from the attorney general’s office told EFE that the murderers left behind two placards, in which a drug trafficking organization had issued threats against lawyers handling cases of a rival criminal group.
Linares demanded that the attorney general’s office get to the bottom of the case.
Dozens of journalists from Michoacán echoed the demands for justice and were considering holding a mass protest in the state’s main cities.
Without including the latest case, the non-profit Article 19 says that 148 journalists have been killed for their work from 2000 to date, 28 of them during Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s term, which began in December 2018.
Toledo’s murder occurs less than a week after nationwide protests over the recent killings of journalists in Mexico.
Before Toledo, José Luis Gamboa was murdered in the port of Veracruz in Veracruz state on Jan. 10 and Margarito Martínez and Lourdes Maldonado in Baja California’s Tijuana on Jan. 17 and 23, respectively.