Mexico City, March 5, 2013--Mexican authorities must identify the motive in the weekend murder of a news website editor in Chihuahua state and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
An unidentified man shot Jaime González Dominguez, editor of OjinagaNoticias, as he ate at a taco stand in the town of Ojinaga, on the border of Texas, on Sunday afternoon, Carlos González, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's office, told CPJ. González said the journalist's camera was taken but that authorities did not consider theft to be the motive.
The news site reported that Gonzalez was with a female companion when he was killed. The attorney general's office said he was actually speaking with the female owner of the stand.
"Jaime González Dominguez is the first journalist to be murdered under the new administration of Enrique Peña Nieto," Robert Mahoney, CPJ's deputy director, said from New York. "In order to ensure this administration does not repeat the deadly record of the previous one, Mexican authorities must fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."
OjinagaNoticias covered community events, local sports, crime, and politics; none of its recent reports would clearly point to a motive for Gonzalez's murder. Still, many journalists have told CPJ that they can be unaware that their articles have somehow crossed the crime cartels; sometimes, the mere inclusion of a name can spark a reprisal. Ojinaga is in the state of Chihuahua, which is controlled in large measure by organized crime groups. According to journalists in the state, La Linea is considered the preeminent crime group in Ojinaga.
González had worked for several years as a reporter for a local weekly, Contacto, but quit after receiving threats, according to a local reporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. The reporter said he did not know the details of the threats. In an email to CPJ, a man who identified himself as González's partner in the website said that OjinagaNoticias would close for fear of future attacks. "I don't want problems. Really, I feel very afraid because of what happened," he wrote. He, too, asked for anonymity.
Violence related to drugs or organized crime has made Mexico one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press, according to CPJ research. At least 50 journalists were killed or disappeared during the six-year tenure of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, who left office in December 2012.
- For more data on Mexico, visit CPJ's Attacks on the Press.