By Miftaudeen Raji
In what could best be described as targeted violence at reporters, 47-year-old Antonio de la Cruz, shot outside his home on Wednesday, marked the 12th Mexican journalist murdered in 2022.
Antonio de la Cruz was shot and killed outside his home, while leaving his home in Ciudad Victoria in northeastern Mexico.
Following the murder of Cruz, Mexican journalists have demonstrated to protest the murder of a colleague in February 2014.
During the onslaught on the journalist on Wednesday, his 23-year-old daughter was also seriously injured in the gun attack on Wednesday.
Antonio de la Cruz is a reporter for the regional newspaper Expreso. Mexico has been witnessing a rising violence against members of the press.
In his nearly three decades of working for Expreso, De la Cruz was reporting on rural and social issues while living in the city of Ciudad Victoria, a city located in the border state of Tamaulipas, which grappled with issues of violence and organized crime.
Sadly, the murder of de la Cruz is the latest in a wave of violent attacks on journalists in Mexico, making 2022 the deadliest year on record for members of the press in Mexico.
For the record, Mexico is the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones.
In May, two Mexican journalists, Yessenia Mollinedo and Sheila Johana Garcia, were murdered in the state of Veracruz, while more than 150 journalists have been killed since 2000. According to reports, journalists employed by smaller regional outlets often face the most risk.
Angered by the trend of violent attacks on journalists, human rights and press freedom groups have lamented the violence faced by Mexican journalists and appealed to the government to tame the tide of onslaught on journalists.
According to Reporters Without Borders, the Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had not “undertaken the necessary reforms to stop the spiral of violence against the press.
Under the tenure of President Obrador, journalists have endured brazen hostility and repeated attacks that have left many dead.
Remembering De la Cruz, the director of Expreso, Miguel Domínguez, in a television interview, described the slain journalist as “very aware of the reality of Tamaulipas, very brave.”
Meanwhile, the incident is not the first time the paper has been threatened with violence. Recall that in 2012, a car bomb exploded in front of the paper’s offices, and a human head was delivered in a cooler with a note warning the publication against reporting on violence in the city in 2018.
Speaking on the issue, Governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, insisted that the murder of de la Cruz will “not go unpunished.”
He said the federal prosecutor’s office has said that it would open an investigation into the killing.
In the face of impunity that has unfortunately remained consistent and featuring the murders of Mexican journalists, activists have raised concern, saying government program designed to protect reporters is critically insufficient.
As of today, 30th June, 2022, no fewer than 15 Mexican journalists are currently missing, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists,