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Journalist Found Dead In Mexico, Becomes 12th Killed This Year, After Criticizing Local Authorities

There is terrible news out of Mexico where the body of journalist Nevith Condés Jaramillo was found dead on the evening of August 24 in a home in the municipality of Tejupilco. Condes was a well-known journalist in the state who ran the local news site, El Observatorio del Sur, and was also an announcer on a community radio station. Reports say that Condes was found dead as a result of being stabbed multiple times, according to state prosecutor who made the announcement on Saturday. The murder case is currently being treated as a homicide as investigators look for any suspects. 

The 42-year-old would publish stories and news reports that caused tensions with the local government, this resulted in various threats back in June and November. Condes would eventually request federal protection because of these ongoing threats but reportedly didn’t comply with some procedures due to certain bureaucratic procedures involved. He becomes the third journalist killed in Mexico this August and the twelfth journalist killed in the country this year alone, according to Mexico’s human rights watchdog. 

The killing adds to a growing list of reporter deaths in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press.

Credit: @drconsultores / Twitter

The Mexican National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) denounced the killing of Condes in a public statement. The organization is calling for an independent and thorough investigation into this latest death.

“Violence against journalists, in all its forms, is one of the main obstacles for our country to consolidate itself as a democracy, hence the need for the authorities of the three levels of government to focus on the prevention, protection and timely investigation of these facts, the statement said. “With this homicide, there are already 153 journalists killed since 2000, and 12 so far in 2019.”

As of now, human rights defenders are asking authorities of Tejupilco to protect the family of the murdered journalist and requested that the “possible relationship of the crime with their journalistic activity” be looked into and fully investigated. 

There has been an outpouring of reactions to the senseless murder on social media from fellow journalists who are hoping to see an end of this trend. 

Credit: @notociasmundo2020 / Twitter

There has been an outpouring on anger and sadness since the news of Condes’s murder broke last week. Many journalists in Mexico and around the world have chimed in on the tragedy calling for immediate action. 

“All our solidarity with the family and colleagues of the Mexican journalist #NevithCondesJaramillo murdered. Without secure journalism and decent and long-lasting jobs, democracy corrodes in its foundations. Populism began destroying serious journalism,” Fernando Vidal, a fellow Mexican journalist tweeted. 

The latest journalist murder underscores the growing dangers for media members in the country who are being attacked in record numbers. 

Credit: @univ_english / Twitter

Advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, which releases annual rankings of the world’s most dangerous countries for news media, placed Mexico alongside war-torn Syria and Afghanistan. The country has been plagued with ongoing drug and gang violence since 2006. Murders in the country have spiked in the first half of this year and at this current pace, it will most likely be the highest on record, according to official data.

Just last month there were similar murders in Mexico that left three journalists killed within a week. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent non-profit organization, condemned the killings and called on Mexico to take action on the growing problem. 

“These two brutal killings within days of each other are the tragic consequence of Mexico’s failure to seriously address impunity in attacks on the press,” the group said in a statement. 

The spiraling violence underscores the challenges President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has faced since taking office in December with promises and initiatives to reduce violence in the country ravaged by notorious drug traffickers. The violence that has been linked to drug trafficking and political corruption is growing rampant in Mexico with many murders going unpunished.

“Collusion between officials and organized crime poses a grave threat to journalists’ safety and cripples the judicial system at all levels,” the RSF said in a statement. “As a result, Mexico is sinking ever deeper into a spiral of violence and impunity and continues to be Latin America’s most dangerous country for reporters.”

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