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Reporter murdered in Nayarit, Mexico; journalists look to new government for security guarantees

*This post has been updated to include remarks from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

A reporter in the state of Nayarit, Mexico was found dead on Dec. 1, making it the first journalist’s murder reported under new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Journalist Alejandro Márquez (Facebook)

Alejandro Márquez, also known as “El Guamas,” was found in a path next to the highway, according to Asociación de Periodistas Desplazados México.

The journalist received a call while at home and quickly left on his motorcycle, according to Crítica Digital Noticias. When his body was found, he had four shots to the head and was beaten, the website added, citing unofficial reports.

There have been no mentions of a possible motive.

Márquez was director of the weekly Orión Informativo and formerly collaborated with Crítica Digital Noticias for eight years, according to the latter publication. It added that he was also candidate for councillor for the Morena party, the same as López Obrador.

The United Communicators of Nayarit urged the government to investigate the crime and punish those responsible, as well as to guarantee the security of colleagues, according to an organization press release.

“In Nayarit there is no history of violent acts against the journalistic union, which is why this devious murder has shocked the communicators and has put us in a state of helplessness and vulnerability,” the release said.

Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), condemned the murder. “Violence against communicators is an attack against society and against the right to be informed and access the truth,” he wrote on Twitter.

Also on Twitter, freedom of expression organization Article 19 Mexico urged the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), the federal Mechanism of Protection and the Executive Comisión for Attention to Victims (CEAV) “to investigate the case, protect and assist the family and the colleagues of Márquez.”

María Elvira Domínguez, president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), said the murder is “a painful and fatal reminder of the immense problem of the violence and impunity that remains to be resolved in [Mexico],” according to an organization press release.

"The death of Mexican journalists, especially in the interior of the country, has been constant during recent decades and it remains to be seen if the change announced by President López Obrador can put an end to this plague for democracy," said Roberto Rock, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of Mexican site La Silla Rota.

During a press conference on Dec. 3, López Obrador was asked about the murder of Márquez. He said the journalist was in the hospital and they would investigate the case, Proceso reported, apparently referring to a columnist and former congressman who was found alive in Nayarit on Dec. 2 after having gone missing five days earlier. The president said he would travel to Tepic, Nayarit on Dec. 7, the publication added.

López Obrador also said that during a security meeting, an agreement was made to maintain the protection of journalists and threatened persons.


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