Mexico City, February 8, 2018--Authorities in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero must undertake an exhaustive investigation into the murder of Pamika Montenegro, a journalist, satirist and social media commentator, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Two unidentified assailants on February 5 shot Montenegro dead in the restaurant she owned in the beachside resort city of Acapulco, according to news reports.
The journalist, who ran a satirical YouTube channel, a print and online news magazine El Sillón, and was active on social media sites, had been the target of threats in the months before her murder, according to news reports.
"Mexican authorities must immediately and credibly investigate the murder of Pamika Montenegro and do everything in their power to bring the culprits to justice," said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ's Mexico Representative. "Criminals know they can get away with killing journalists in Mexico because of chronic impunity for these crimes. Until they are held accountable, the violence will continue."
State authorities claimed that Javi Daniel Cervantes Magno, the alleged leader of a local criminal gang that is active in Acapulco, ordered Montenegro's murder, according to a February 6 statement from the Guerrero state attorney general Javier Olea. A spokesperson for the state attorney general's office told CPJ on February 8 that he was unable to confirm that a warrant had been issued for Magno's arrest and did not return calls requesting further comment.
CPJ could not locate Cervantes Magno for comment.
In the statement, Olea claimed that Montenegro had angered the gang by publishing information about organized crime in Acapulco. Olea did not specify if the information had been published on the journalist's magazine or a social media page.
CPJ was unable to find any recent stories on El Sillón, Montenegro's El Sillón Facebook page or videos on her YouTube channel that met Olea's description.
Miguel Ángel Mata Mata, the president of the Journalists' Club of Guerrero, criticized Olea's statement. "I think those comments were rushed," he told CPJ.
In addition to running and editing El Sillón, which she founded in 2012, Montenegro was more widely known as "La Nana Pelucas" (The Grandma in Wigs), her online persona featured on her satirical YouTube channel, El Sillón TV.
Both as editor of El Sillón and as "La Nana Pelucas," Montenegro covered local politics in Acapulco and the Guerrero region, and frequently mocked local politicians.
El Sillón's Facebook page, which Montenegro administered with her husband, Samuel Muñuzuri, recently featured a variety of posts on topics including beauty, culture, and politics.
Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, who heads the office of the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) told CPJ that his office, as of February 7, had not yet opened a federal investigation into the killing.