Journalist Juan Carlos Huerta was murdered on Tuesday in Mexico’s Tabasco state. The attack came as journalists across Mexico gathered to mark the first anniversary of the murder of prominent and popular reporter Javier Valdez’s.
Four journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far in 2018, according to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and two of those killings are confirmed to have been carried out due to the reporters’ work.
Huerta hosted a television program and was as director of a radio station in Tabasco. His age was 45 and had a wife and two children. He had just pulled out of his subdivision Tuesday morning when a truck rammed into his car and then stopped in the road, blocking his path.
Police have blocked all roads out of the city and are searching for a vehicle apparently used in the attack.
The state governor Arturo Núñez said the killing was not a robbery and appeared to be related to Huerta’s work as a journalist. “They apparently went to execute him,” he said.
Valdez founded the newsweekly Ríodoce, which fearlessly covered crime and corruption in the state, which has been convulsed by fresh violence amid a cartel power struggle after the extradition of crime boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
He was pulled from his car on 15 May 2017 at midday and shot 12 times. Valdez’s suspected killer was detained last month, a rarity in a country where crimes committed against journalists are seldom investigated with any rigor.
Núñez was the 10th reporter to have been murdered since Valdez’s death.“Impunity continues to incentivise the killers,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for the CPJ
Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, where asking questions about government corruption or powerful drug cartels can mean risking one’s life.
Gerardo Priego, a former gubernatorial candidate in Tabasco said “Criminals are doing the government’s dirty work” who previously headed a special commission in Congress on crimes committed against journalists.
“It’s much more convenient for the government that organised crime is silencing journalists rather than politicians having to try and silence them.”