Violence Continues in Mexico

I blogged at the end of July about an increase in violence against Mexican journalists. Not only was the brutal murder of veteran Acapulco-based radio presenter Juan Daniel Martinez Gil disturbing, but the lack of police follow-up to the case left many press freedom defenders extremely frustrated.

Well police authorities are investigating another attack this month, this time about an alleged shooting on August 30th at the home of Guillermo Soto Bejarano, the editor of the regional weekly Nuevo Milenio. Authorities are working under the assumption that the shooting was linked to his journalist activities. But the worst part? This was the second attack on Soto in a short space of time. And according to Reporters Without Borders, The Salina Cruz municipal police, although they arrive a few minutes after the shooting, have done little to hunt down the perpetrators. Reporters Without Borders called the lack of any reaction “incomprehensible.”

Following the shooting and at the advice of the police, Soto and his family moved out of the house as a safety measure. Sadly, neither Soto nor his family but have been given any protection. Soto did report the incident to the federal justice ministry office in the city of Oaxaca which will hopefully carry out an appropriate investigation

Although the specific reason for the attack remains unknown, Soto’s runs a regular column called “Refinando la Noticia” (Refining the News), the subject of which is often the national oil company Pemex. Soto said several other aspects of his journalistic work could have been possible motives for the shooting, but hesitated to go into details out of concern for his safety.

Mexico remains the western hemisphere’s most dangerous country for the media, with 50 journalists killed since 2000. There have been six cases of bombings or shooting attacks on new media offices or homes of journalists since the beginning of 2009. Mexico was ranked 140th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.