Provincial reporter found murdered

New York, November 22, 2006—Roberto Marcos García, a reporter for the Veracruz-based publication Testimonio and local correspondent for the Mexico City weekly Alarma, was found murdered yesterday in southern Mexico. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating possible links between García’s murder and his journalism.

García, who was traveling from Veracruz to the nearby city of Alvarado on his motorcycle, was run down by a car with Mexico City plates at 1 p.m. near the town of La Matoza, the Mexican press reported. Unidentified assailants shot García, while he was on the ground, twice on the head and at least four times in the chest, according to press reports and a CPJ source.

Marco Antonio Aguilar Yunes, Deputy Prosecutor for the State of Veracruz, told the U.S.-based television news channel Univisión that authorities had found bullet casings from at least two guns at the scene, and had recovered the attackers’ car. He said police had not determined a motive for the murder.

García had reported for 13 years on violent crime and drug trafficking in Veracruz, a colleague told CPJ. García’s last report, which was published a week before his death in the bimonthly Testimonio, detailed the activities of a gang of thieves who stole goods coming into Veracruz port, said García’s colleague. Other reporters in Veracruz said that García had previously received death threats on his cellular phone.

“We are saddened by the murder of our colleague Roberto Marcos García, and concerned about the series of murderous attacks against the Mexican press this year” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

CPJ research shows that five other journalists have been killed in Mexico this year. CPJ has confirmed that one of the five journalists was slain in connection with his reporting. It continues to investigate the killings of the four others.