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Photojournalist slain in Mexico City after fleeing threats in Veracruz

August 9, 2015

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that photojournalist Rubén Espinosa Becerril has been found murdered in Mexico City, to which he fled in early June after receiving death threats in the southeastern state of Veracruz.

Espinosa, who worked for AVC (a news outlet based in Veracruz), the national investigative magazine Proceso and the photo agency Cuarto Oscuro, was reported missing on 31 July, relatives said.

The police found his body along with the bodies of four women in an apartment in the Mexico City neighbourhood of Narvarte yesterday. He had been tortured and then shot dead.

“We are deeply shocked and outraged by Rubén Espinosa’s murder, which is unfortunately typical of the escalating violence in Mexico,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Americas desk. “Because of the threats he had been getting in Veracruz, Espinosa travelled to Mexico City at his own expense hoping to find a safe refuge there. He is the eighth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since the start of the year. The authorities must react to the growing death toll by giving journalists better protection and by giving the justice system more resources in order to end the impunity for crimes of violence against media personnel.”

Espinosa was the Veracruz governor’s official photographer in 2009, but he resigned because his criticism of the violence against journalists in Veracruz was incompatible with a state job.

He publicly accused Veracruz governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa of direct responsibility for the media freedom violations in Veracruz and for the threats against him personally. According to RSF’s tally, Veracruz is the one of the deadliest Mexican states for journalists.

A total of 88 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, according to RSF’s figures. The latest victim prior to Espinosa was Edgar Hernández García, the editor of the magazine Foro Político, who was gunned down in the southern state of Oaxaca on 9 July.

When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visited Paris for this year’s 14 July parade, RSF urged him to give a firm undertaking to guarantee the safety of journalists in Mexico and to reinforce freedom of information.

RSF urges the Mexican authorities to do everything possible to shed light on Espinosa’s murder by conducting a thorough, impartial and independent investigation aimed at identifying both the perpetrators and instigators.

Mexico is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

For more information contact:
Reporters Without Borders
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84

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