Mexican journalist José Luis Gamboa was recently found dead with stab wounds in Veracruz. (Screenshot: YouTube/José luis Gamboa Arenas)

Mexican journalist José Luis Gamboa stabbed to death in Veracruz

Mexico City, January 21, 2022 – Mexican authorities must conduct a swift, thorough, and transparent investigation into the killing of journalist José Luis Gamboa Arenas and determine whether he was targeted for his work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On January 10, Gamboa’s body was found in the Floresta neighborhood of the eastern city of Veracruz with at least seven stab wounds, according to news reports and Israel Hernández, the executive secretary of the Veracruz State Commission for Attention to and Protection of Journalists, an autonomous agency within the Veracruz state government, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

Hernández told CPJ that authorities had opened an investigation into the killing. Those news reports said authorities did not have a record of threats to Gamboa over his work, and that the killing may have occurred during an attempted robbery.

“The brutal killing of José Luis Gamboa is a terrible sign that Mexico may continue to see the ceaseless slayings of reporters, the vast majority of which linger in complete impunity,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative. “Authorities must do everything in their power to bring Gamboa’s killers to justice and establish whether his death was related to his work as a reporter.”

Gamboa founded and edited the Inforegio news website, co-founded and edited the news website La Noticia, and published news on his personal Facebook page, where he had about 7,500 followers, Twitter, where he had about 1,000 followers, and YouTube, where he had about 100 followers, according to those news reports and CPJ’s review of his pages.

At those outlets and social media accounts, he frequently reported on and provided commentary about security issues; his most recent publications before his death were a YouTube video and a Facebook post discussing the Veracruz state government’s alleged failure to respond to organized crime and a string of recent murders.

Gamboa’s family identified his body on January 14, according to those news reports and a statement by the State Commission for Attention to and Protection of Journalists.

CPJ repeatedly called the Veracruz public prosecutor’s office for comment, but no one answered; CPJ was unable to find any public statements issued by that office on Gamboa’s case.

Mexico is the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere, according to CPJ research. In 2021, at least three journalists were killed in the country in direct relation to their work. CPJ is investigating another six killings to determine the motive.