Veteran Tijuana Photojournalist, Known for Covering Crime, Killed in Attack

Mexican National Guard troops at the scene where photojournalist Margarito Martínez was killed in Tijuana, Mexico.
Yolanda Morales

A news photographer was killed in the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Monday, the same day press groups said a reporter had been killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz last week.

The two killings marked a grim start to 2022 in Mexico, which is considered one of the most dangerous places for reporters outside active war zones.

Photographer Margarito Martínez was well-known for covering the crime scene in violence-plagued Tijuana. He worked for the local news outlet Cadena Noticias, as well as for other national and international media outlets.

Cadena Noticias reporter Antonio Maya said Martínez was attacked as he left his home.

“He was coming out of his house when they opened fire on him,” Maya said.

Also Monday, press groups say a Mexican journalist who criticized local authorities in Veracruz state died, several days after he was found badly wounded.

José Luis Gamboa was the director of the online news site Inforegio, in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The press group Reporters Without Borders wrote that “Gamboa had denounced and strongly criticized the relations between local authorities and organized crime.”

He had reportedly suffered stab wounds in what may have been a robbery. He died at a hospital in the state capital on Jan. 10, but his relatives were not informed until Jan. 14.

Martínez and Gamboa were the first two journalists killed this year, but 48 journalists have been slain in Mexico since December 2018. Mexico is one of the most dangerous places for reporters outside active war zones.

In December, a senior government human rights official said that 90% of crimes against activists and journalists go unpunished in Mexico.

Alejandro Encinas, Mexico's assistant interior secretary in charge of human rights, said that in cases where the culprits have been identified, almost half are local officials.

Local officials in Mexico are often angered by corruption accusations against them, but in some cases they are also in league with criminal or business interests.

Encinas said new laws are needed to protect activists and reporters.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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