Author: Allison Geringer, Pima Community College
The State Attorney’s General’s Office made a statement reported by the media which was obtained by CBJ. On May 16, 2019, a reporter named Francisco Romero Diaz was shot and killed in the Coastal resort town of Playa Del Carmen located in Southern Mexico. The editor for the local daily Quintana Roo Hoy, Amir Ibrahim stated that Francisco had received a tip about a possible article on May 16th and arrived at home in the early hours. As stated by the Attorney’s General’s office, Francisco was shot at least twice in the head outside a club in Playa Del Carmen at around 6 a.m., killing him instantly. A suspect involved in a shootout at a bar in Playa Del Carmen was detained on May 17th according to an announcement by State Attorney General Oscar Montes De Oca Rosales. His identity hasn’t been released. He confessed to killing Francisco during his questioning, according to the reports.
Early in the morning on May 16th, the suspect received a call instructing him to assassinate Francisco. A security officer at the club alerted the suspect, who was waiting for Francisco for many hours, and told the suspect when the journalists arrived. Then the suspect advanced towards Francisco, shooting him several times before fleeing the area. Further details regarding the possible motives or identities of possible other suspects were not provided.
Wishing to remain anonymous, an official at the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists spoke with CPJ stating that Romero, 28, was in a Federal Protection Program since mid-2018. According to the source, Francsico had been receiving threats after two of his coworkers who worked at Semanario Playa News had been murdered. Consequently, government bodyguards were assigned for Francisco’s Protection, since he also reported for that news. One of the state’s major newspapers, Quintana Roo Hoy had employed Francisco for about six months, where he reported on local politics and crime.
Reporters Without Borders stated that Mexico is on track to be the world’s deadliest country for journalists in 2019. Not only Francsico Romero Diaz but four other journalists have been assassinated in the first five months of the year. In a statement by Mexico Representative Jan Albert Hootsen from CPJ, she opined that Mexico is suffering a crisis when it comes to press freedom. Over the past few years, this situation has grown worse. She believes that Mexico has declined to the status of the world’s deadliest country for reporters in 2020. “The crisis principally stems from impunity”, Hootsen stated.
In Mexico journalists who report on the relationship between corrupt officials and organized crime are targeted often. Therefore, Mexico has become the most dangerous place for Journalists. In addition, the government has lowered security for threatened journalists and reduced funding for investigations. Two of the journalists murdered this year were supposedly protected by the federal government after reporting death threats related to their job. Their designated bodyguards were also killed in both attacks. Twenty-five international news organizations, including the Guardian, released a series earlier this month on the assassination of journalists in Mexico who were investigating links between organized crime and government officials.
Francisco Romero Díaz. Accessed from https://cpj.org/data/people/francisco-romero-diaz/
Fifth journalist killed in Mexico in 2019 (2019, 22. May). Accessed from https://justiceinmexico.org/fifth-journalist-killed-in-mexico-in-2019/
Mexico world’s deadliest country for journalists, a new report finds (2020, 22. December). Accessed from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/22/mexico-journalists-deadly-cpr-press-freedom
Braine, T. (2019, 17. may). Mexican reporter killed in Playa del Carmen, fifth journalist murdered in Mexico this year. Accessed from https://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ny-mexico-journalist-killed-francisco-romero-diaz-playa-del-carmen-20190517-sizovazx7ncevhynl4nk5fligi-story.html