Mexican reporter shot to death in Guerrero

New York, March 15, 2010—Mexican reporter Evaristo Pacheco Solís was found shot to death on Friday in the city of Chilpancingo, in the crime-ravaged state of Guerrero, news reports said. Authorities must fully investigate the murder and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Pacheco, 33, a reporter with the weekly Visión Informativa was shot several times with a small caliber pistol, and his body was left along the side of a rural road, according to local news reports. Family members identified the journalist’s body on Saturday, Mexican press reports said. CPJ is investigating whether Pacheco’s slaying was linked to his journalism.

Pacheco is the second journalist killed in Guerrero this year. On January 29, Jorge Ochoa Martínez, publisher of the weekly El Oportuno and the twice-weekly El Sol de la Costa, was shot to death after leaving a party for a local politician. Last week, the state prosecutor’s office accused two men of murdering Ochoa during what authorities described as a street altercation.

“We are disturbed by Pacheco’s killing and the wave of violence in the state that is seriously inhibiting the ability of journalists in Guerrero to report the news,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Mexican authorities must conduct a thorough investigation, bring those responsible to justice, and ensure that the press in Guerrero can work without fear of reprisal.”

Guerrero state is racked by open warfare between drug gangs. Such violence left more than 15 people dead in the state over the weekend, according to press reports. Local journalists told CPJ that cartels control significant parts of the state.

Over all, Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows. Since 1992, a total of 44 journalists, including Pacheco, have been killed in Mexico. At least 19 were slain in direct reprisal for their work, CPJ investigations have found. Another eight have disappeared since 2005.