Ciudad Juárez – A Mexican photojournalist was shot and killed on Thursday in Ciudad Juarez bordering the United States, authorities said, in the latest spasm of violence against members of Mexico’s media.
Ismael Villagomez Tapia, a photographer for El Heraldo de Juarez newspaper who also gave lifts to people through a rideshare platform, was found shot in the face in a residential area of the city, which has been plagued by violence linked to organised crime.
“Expert analysis shows that a bullet entered through his eye,” Carlos Manuel Salas, a prosecutor for the northern area of Chihuahua state, told reporters.
Tapia’s body was found in a vehicle that he used for rideshare work.
Prior to Thursday’s murder, five journalists had been killed in Mexico since the beginning of the year, according to non-governmental group Reporters Without Borders. More than 150 have been murdered nationwide since 2000, and 28 remain missing.
A Mexican photojournalist was shot and killed Thursday in Ciudad Juarez bordering the United States, authorities said, in the latest spasm of violence against members of Mexico’s media.
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According to human rights organisation Article 19, last year was the deadliest for media personnel, with at least 13 homicides of journalists documented by the government.
Salas said authorities were seeking access to the app used by Tapia to study the trips he had made and especially the last person to whom he gave a ride, and stressed it remained possible that Tapia’s journalism work was a motive for the crime.
“We rule out absolutely nothing. A journalist is a journalist, 24 hours a day, regardless of whether he does other work,” he said.
El Heraldo’s editor, Jose Ramon Ortiz, said there had been no signs that Tapia was under threat. He added however that only Tapia’s mobile phone was missing and that the victim’s wallet was not taken, apparently ruling out a possible robbery.
Tapia mostly covered urban issues, such as accidents or traffic on the US border bridges, as well as the story of migrants arriving in Ciudad Juarez with the aim of crossing into the United States.
The southeastern state of Veracruz saw the greatest number of journalists reported killed, 31, since 2000.
During the 2010–2016 governorship of Javier Duarte, who was sentenced in 2018 to nine years in prison for money laundering and criminal conspiracy, 18 journalists were killed.
Since 2010 Mexico has operated a prosecutor’s office for crimes against journalists. And since 2012 there has been a mechanism, albeit underfunded and understaffed, to protect human rights defenders and journalists.