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Reporter shot in Mexico, 12th journalist killed there this year

Attacks on the press have increased 85% in the three years since president Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power

Police officers guard the area where Antonio de la Cruz was killed in Ciudad Victoria. Photograph: Reuters

29 June 2022

Yet another Mexican reporter has been shot to death, bringing to 12 the number of journalists killed this year in the country, one of the world’s most dangerous for media workers.

Antonio de la Cruz, 47, was shot on Wednesday as he was leaving his house with his 23-year-old daughter, who was seriously injured, according to state prosecutors and the newspaper that employed him.

De la Cruz, 47, a reporter for the local newspaper Expreso for almost three decades, was shot at the door of his house in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the state of Tamaulipas on the US border. The region is mired in violence linked to organized crime.

Expreso covers all kinds of news in the city, including security issues. De la Cruz reported on rural and social topics such as water shortages.

He also covered the Movimiento Ciudadano political party and its local deputy, Gustavo Cárdenas Gutiérrez, who condemned the killing.

De la Cruz was “very aware of the reality of Tamaulipas, very brave”, Miguel Domínguez, director of the newspaper, said in an interview with Milenio Televisión.

“He never expressed any concern to us,” Domínguez said.

Expreso has been targeted over the years. In 2012, one of the worst years of drug cartel violence, a car bomb exploded in front of the newspaper’s building. In 2018, a cooler with a human head inside was left at the newspaper, with a warning not to report on violence in the city.

The governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, promised an investigation of the killing on Wednesday so that “this cowardly crime does not go unpunished”.

The state prosecutor’s office said that the specialized unit for investigating crimes against freedom of expression had been informed. The federal prosecutor’s office said it was opening an investigation.

Attacks on the press have surged 85% in the three years since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power in December 2018, with every single Mexican state witnessing such incidents for the first time in 2021.

Seven journalists were killed in the whole of 2021, compared with 12 so far this year.

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