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  HOME | Mexico

Newspaper Photographer Assassinated, Female Reporter Wounded in South Mexico

CHILPANCINGO, MEXICO -- A press photographer died and a reporter was gravely wounded after both were shot at by unknown persons in Iguala, a city in the southern state of Guerrero, local authorities said.

Officials at the Guerrero state prosecutor's office told Efe that the journalists where traveling Friday night on a motorcycle when two suspected hitmen on another motorcycle shot at them.

Paul Ibarra Ramirez, a photographer for the daily El Correo de Iguala and a specialist in covering police news, died instantly, while reporter Liliana Marchan Arroya of the daily Diario 21 was badly wounded.

Both were heading home after covering a news story at the Iguala auditorium.

According to the authorities, Ibarra, who was driving, was shot twice with a .45-caliber handgun, one of the shots a "coup de grace" in the head after he fell to the ground.

For her part, Marchan Arroya was hit by three bullets and is currently hospitalized at a local medical center.

The newspaper community in Guerrero state expressed Sunday its dismay at the attack and demanded that the authorities get to the bottom of the incident.

In this city located some 196 kilometers (122 miles) south of Mexico City a number of similar attacks have taken place, with assailants shooting from moving motorcycles.

As yet the motive of the murder is unknown, but authorities do not discard the possibility that it was an act of organized crime.

According to information from Article XIX, an NGO dedicated to defending freedom of expression, in 2007 five journalists were slain and 13 more were killed in 2008.

Although Mexico since 2006 has had a special prosecutor dealing with crimes against journalists, a congressional commission charged with following up on these attacks, and with a grievances program at the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) since 1991, the nation remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist.

Over the past 30 years, more than 50 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, according to official figures.

Many of the killings were carried out to silence journalists who were reporting on drug trafficking and organized crime in the country, which has been racked in recent years by a wave of violence stemming in large part from turf battles among powerful cartels.

 

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