Three Journalists Killed in Mexico Within Weeks

A third journalist has been killed in Mexico in the space of three weeks, local authorities confirmed on Sunday.

Lourdes Maldonado López was fatally shot on Sunday in the northwestern Mexico border city of Tijuana. Authorities found the journalist dead inside a car on Sunday evening. According to a statement from the Baja California state prosecutor's office, she was attacked "with a firearm while she was in a vehicle" in Tijuana.

Maldonado is the third journalist to be killed so far this year in Mexico, which is considered to be the world's most dangerous country for reporters outside of active war zones.

According to the International Press Institute, seven journalists were killed in Mexico in 2021—all in targeted killings.

Just three years ago, Maldonado had asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's during a press briefing for assistance, help and labor justice, saying she feared for her life.

"Because I fear for my life," Maldonado said in 2019, The Associated Press reported.

Last week, photojournalist and crime reporter Margarito Martinez Esquivel died after being shot in the head near his home in the city, which borders the United States. Earlier this month, another journalist, José Luis Gamboa Arenas, was fatally stabbed in Mexico's eastern state Veracruz.

Although the motivations behind the killings are still unknown, the journalists had covered crime and powerful drug cartels.

"The Mexican population still hasn't grasped how serious this is," Gamboa, who directed a news website called Inforegio, tweeted on December 31, 2021, referring to drug-trafficking cartels.

No arrests have been made so far over Maldonado's killing.

When she said she feared for her life in 2019, she had been embroiled in a lengthy labor dispute with Jaime Bonilla, who was elected Baja California state governor months later as a candidate from Obrador's Morena party.

Bonilla owns the media outlet that Maldonado worked for—Primer Sistema de Noticias (PSN). Maldonado won her legal battle against the media outlet last week after nine years, according to the BBC. Bonilla left office in November 2021.

Newsweek has contacted PSN for comment.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a campaign group, said on Twitter that it was "shocked" by Maldonado's killing.

Human rights group ARTICLE 19 issued a statement condemning the killing of Maldonado.

"She is the second journalist to be murdered in that city in a week and the third in Mexico during the first month of 2022," the group said in a statement.

"With the shocking killing of Margarito Martínez, just days after his colleague José Luis Gamboa was stabbed to death in Veracruz, any hope that Mexico may become a safer place for reporters is evaporating," Jan-Albert Hootsen, the Mexico representative for CPJ, said earlier this month following the killings of Martinez and Gamboa.

He said: "The country cemented its abysmal status last year as the deadliest country for journalists in the Western hemisphere and nothing will change unless Mexican authorities make it a priority to ensure that reporters in the country aren't killed with impunity."

Vigil honoring murdered Mexican photojournalist
Journalists take part in a vigil honoring murdered Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martinez in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on January 21, 2022. Lourdes Maldonado López on Sunday became the third journalist to be killed so far this year in Mexico. GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images