A radio reporter was shot and killed in the state of Veracruz in Mexico on Thursday. Jacinto Romero Flores was the fifth journalist murdered in Mexico this year.

According to The Guardian, Flores, who covered politics and crime in the municipality of Zongolica, was shot dead in Ixtaczoquitlan.

The head of Veracruz state security agency, Hugo Gutiérrez Maldonado, said on social media that the state police were already carrying out an operation in the area after the journalist was killed.

The radio station, Ori Stereo 99.3 FM, where Romero was working, released a statement expressing their sadness for the death of Romero. 

"There are no words to express the pain and powerlessness we feel after the irreparable loss of our colleague Jacinto Romero Flores," read the statement.

The radio station also said that it was not the media that caused or brought the violence in the country. They noted that the media were the ones who were suffering the consequences for delivering out journalism and communication for the people.

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Radio Reporter Killed After Reporting Police Abuse

Based on local media reports, Jacinto Romero Flores received a string of threats recently after he revealed in his reports the alleged abuses made by police officers in Veracruz.

Due to the recent incident, the State Commission for Attention to and Protection of Journalists condemned the killing and called the attention of the state prosecutor's office to open a full investigation. The commission wanted to know if Romero's work as a journalist has something to do with his murder, Al Jazeera reported.

The press freedom organization Article 19 noted that the radio reporter received death threats before he was killed. The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists posted on social media that the group strongly condemned the murder of Jacinto Romero Flores.

The group urged Mexican authorities to undertake a swift, transparent and exhaustive investigation into the killing of the radio reporter.

The Most Dangerous Place for Journalists in Mexico

The Mexican gulf coast state of Veracruz has been one of the most dangerous states for reporters for years, especially in a country that is considered the deadliest place in the world for media workers.

Last year, Mexico accounted for almost a third of all journalist killings in the world. The state of Veracruz straddles major routes for contraband prompting local politicians to build up powerful alliances with organized crime factions.

On Thursday, state journalists marched in the port city of Veracruz to protest and demand justice for Romero's murder. Press groups noted that nine journalists were killed in Mexico in 2020, making it the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones, as Voice of America reported. 

Earlier this month, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel publicly threatened to kill a prominent television news anchor for attacking them verbally on air.

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Written by: Jess Smith

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