Reporter shot and killed in Mexican tourist resort

by Reuters
Thursday, 16 May 2019 18:01 GMT

MEXICO CITY, May 16 (Reuters) - A crime reporter has been shot and killed in the beach resort of Playa del Carmen on Mexico's Caribbean coast, authorities said on Thursday, the latest in a rising death toll of journalists under the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The body of Francisco Romero, a police reporter for newspaper "Quintana Roo, Hoy" and director of the local news website "Ocurrio Aqui" was found outside a bar in Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo, local prosecutors said.

"Ocurrio Aqui" also confirmed Romero's death.

State prosecutors said in a statement the motive for the killing was unclear and that investigations were continuing.

Romero had reported threats against him and recently posted a video saying he had been kidnapped, blindfolded and beaten by unidentified assailants.

Playa del Carmen is close to the popular resort of Cancun, and the area has been a focal point of turf wars between local gangs battling for control of criminal rackets.

According to a tally kept by Article 19, a free-speech advocacy group, Romero becomes the sixth journalist to be killed since Lopez Obrador took office at the start of December.

Article 19 said Romero was part of a government program designed to give at-risk reporters protection.

Lopez Obrador won election last July pledging to tackle rampant violence in Mexico, which suffered a record murder tally of nearly 29,000 last year. So far, however, killings are still rising and 2019 is on track to surpass the 2018 total. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz Editing by James Dalgleish)

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