Who really killed Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Pérez?

Regina Martínez Pérez wrote about politics and corruption, and in Mexico this can be a very perilous occupation. Her death in late April 2012 was followed within a week by two other slayings of journalists in Veracruz. © Reuters

Killing condemned by UNESCO DG, 4 May 2012

Regina Martínez Pérez - Mexico – Killed, 28 April 2012

We have found the murderer and he has confessed to the crime, declared Mexican justice officials in November 2012.  

The case referred to the discovery in the previous April of the badly beaten and strangled body of journalist Regina Martínez Pérez, a respected correspondent for the national investigative news magazine Proceso.

It is very rare that the Mexican authorities resolve killings of members of the press. The man who initially admitted killing Pérez then recanted, claiming the confession was gained under duress, after torture, and after threats had been made against his mother’s life.

Journalism is a quick way of getting yourself killed in Mexico, where the crippling drug war has seen around 60,000 deaths in the past six years alone. More than 40 journalists have been killed or have simply disappeared. In the space of the last two years in Pérez’s home state of Veracruz, no fewer than nine reporters have met a violent end.   Alongside the threat from warring drug cartels, journalists in the state are terrified of local officials, according to the independent Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Pérez had every reason to share their fears, since she was known for her in-depth reporting on the drug cartels and the shady links between organized crime and corrupt officials.   "Regina would always write about one-third more of the real truth than I dared to do in any story we covered. And I write more than most reporters," a journalist from Xalapa, who asked to remain anonymous for his safety, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

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Disclaimer

This article was originally printed in the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat. The content of the article may have been modified and/or updated as information became available following the date of publication.
 
UNESCO encourages all media outlets to inform the public of violations of press freedom; to raise awareness of issues impacting the safety of journalists around the world; and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
 
The original article in Finnish can be found here.

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