Mexican journalist kidnapped and murdered after taking his daughters to school: 'Every day we count victims'

Mexican journalists held a vigil and protest on Saturday a day after one of their colleagues was killed in the southern state of Morelos. They demanded a transparent investigation into the case and expressed anger at the dangers news workers face in Mexico. the deadliest countries in the world for journalists.

Dozens took part in the demonstration over the murder of Roberto Figueroa, who covered local politics and gained a large social media following through satirical videos. After disappearing Friday morning, he was found dead in a car in his hometown of Huitzilac in Morelos, a state south of Mexico City where drug-fueled violence is rampant.

He was the first journalist killed this year in Mexico, the most dangerous country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere and has the highest number of missing journalists in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom watchdog.

In a tweetpress freedom organization Article 19 required officials to investigate and also called for protective measures for Figueroa's family and colleagues.

Mexican prosecutors promised a serious investigation, and the state government of Morelos strongly condemned the killing.

But in a country where press activists say widespread corruption and impunity have long endangered reporters, Figueroa's colleagues carry signs reading “Investigate now!” and chanting outside government buildings in Morelos said they were losing patience with authorities.

“Neither the state government nor the attorney general are doing anything to stop the increasing crimes,” Jaime Luis Brito, correspondent for the left-wing magazine Proceso, wrote in a statement of protest. 'No one in Morelos is safe. …Every day we count victims.'

Mexican media said Figueroa was kidnapped by armed men after taking his daughters to school in Huitzilac, about 70 kilometers from Mexico City. The kidnappers called his family and demanded a ransom in exchange for his life, but he was killed even though Figueroa's wife made the payment, the reports said.

Police discovered Figueroa's body Friday evening along a dirt road. Prosecutors declined to discuss details of the case or speculate about who killed him and why.

Media workers do regularly targeted in Mexicooften in direct retaliation for their work on issues such as corruption and the country's notoriously violent drug traffickers.

Figueroa has focused his reporting in recent months on the upcoming Mexican elections. His colleagues describe him as critical of the administration in Morelos.

Since 2000, 141 Mexican journalists and other media workers have been killed, at least 61 in apparent retaliation for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists says. 2022 was one of them deadliest years ever for journalists in Mexico, with at least 15 dead.


At least fifteen journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far in 2022

03:45

All but a handful of murders and kidnappings remain unsolved.

“Impunity is the norm in crimes against the press,” the spokesperson said the group says in its report about Mexico last month.

“In the rare cases where authorities reach convictions, they are often against those who carried out the attacks, but not against those who ordered them,” the report said.

Mexico has also seen a wave of violence against politicians this year ahead of the June 2 elections. Earlier this month there was a candidate for mayor in Northern Mexico murdered just as she started campaigning. At least fourteen candidates have been murdered since the beginning of 2024.

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