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News > Latin America

Mexican Journalist Murdered After Months of Threats by Police

  • Ruben Pat is seen in this photo uploaded to Facebook on February 15, 2015.

    Ruben Pat is seen in this photo uploaded to Facebook on February 15, 2015. | Photo: Reuters/Ruben Pat

Published 24 July 2018

According to various freedom of speech organizations, more than 100 have been killed in the country since 2000. The vast majority of those crimes have gone unpunished.

A journalist has been murdered in southeast Mexico, not far from tourist hotspot Cancun, less than a month after he complained of being beaten and threatened by local police, the government said on Tuesday — the seventh such killing this year in the country.

Mexico: Homicide Rate Breaks New Record, Jumps 16% in 2018

"Ruben Pat, manager at the Playa Newsweekly, was shot dead this morning" in the Playa del Carmen area, the Quintana Roo state government announced.

Pat was the second journalist from Playa News based in Playa del Carmen, which is located south of Cancun along the Caribbean Sea, murdered in less than a month, after his colleague Jose Guadalupe Chan.

Pat covered security matters and had been receiving threats for the past six months, according to one of his colleagues, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of facing reprisals.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in June that Pat had told them that month he was assaulted by municipal police officers. “They told me to stop publishing articles about a local police chief, and that I knew what would be coming to me if I didn’t,” Pat said, according to the CPJ. Police in the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes Playa del Carmen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Prosecutors said Pat was shot at about 6:00 am outside a bar. Emergency services pronounced him dead upon arriving at the scene. Prosecutors said the incident was meant to "intimidate" other journalists.

Playa News demanded answers from the state government about Pat's murder on its Facebook page.

Mexico was the second most dangerous place in the world for journalists last year, behind only civil war-torn Syria, with 11 murdered, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Journalism isn't the only risky profession in Mexico. Between September and presidential elections on July 1, at least 145 politicians were killed. Five of the eight most violent cities in the world are located in Mexico, according to government statistics for 2017. Los Cabos in the country's northwest topped that list with 111 murders per 100,000 citizens.

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