Reporter killed in Mexico to become seventh journalist killing this year

A journalist has been killed in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, becoming the seventh killed in the country so far this year.

Juan Carlos Muñiz, who covered crime for the online news site Testigo Minero in Fresnillo, was killed on Friday, according to the state governor David Monreal.

“Solidarity with his family, friends and colleagues,” said Monreal. “There can be no impunity for this.”

Alfredo Valadez, also a journalist, said Muñiz also drove a taxi in the city to make ends meet.

The Zacatecas state prosecutor’s office said via Twitter it had opened an investigation and would follow protocols for cases that could be crimes against freedom of expression.

Zacatecas is one of Mexico’s most violent states. In January, the bodies of eight men and two women were found crammed into a pickup truck left before dawn near a Christmas tree in the main plaza of the state capital, also named Zacatecas.

Fresnillo lies about 37 miles (60km) north-west of the state capital and is the state’s second largest city. It has a long history as a mining center.

One of the websites Muñiz wrote for, the Miners’ Witness in English, wrote in a statement that “the cowardly murder of our friend and companion has caused shock among the majority of the public in Fresnillo and the state, as well as in journalistic circles.”

The site said “this social breakdown has wounded our state and our city, and is out of control”.

Mexico has for years been one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. But the pace of killings this year has been shocking and even drew an expression of concern from US secretary of state Antony Blinken last month.

Journalists are often the targets of Mexico’s drug cartels, which seek to intimidate and manipulate coverage of their activities and their rivals. Local politicians and government officials are also frequently linked to murders, and impunity in those killings runs above 90%.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised there will not be impunity in the killings, while at the same time regularly attacking journalists critical of his administration.

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