A police officer is seen in Guadalupe, Mexico, on April 27, 2022. Journalist Rubén Haro recently survived a shooting attempt in Ciudad Obregón. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril)

Mexican journalist Rubén Haro survives shooting attempt in Ciudad Obregón

Mexico City, July 22, 2022 – Mexican authorities must immediately investigate the recent attempted shooting of journalist Rubén Eduardo Haro Madero and guarantee his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

At about 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 17, unidentified attackers shot at Haro, founder and editor of the Facebook-based news outlet Las Noticias de la Red, in Ciudad Obregón, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, according to news reports, a statement by his outlet, and Haro, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

Haro was driving in the area when he heard something hit his car windows; a vehicle then passed him, stopped, and began to turn around, Haro told CPJ, saying, “That’s when I realized that the people inside it had shot at me.”

Haro escaped the scene unharmed, he said. In a short thread on Twitter, the Sonora state prosecutor’s office confirmed Haro’s car had been hit by bullets and said the gunmen drove a white Honda. The office said it had contacted the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression to determine whether Haro was attacked because of his work.

Earlier in July, radio reporter Susana Carreño survived a knife attack near the coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta, in the central state of Jalisco, as CPJ documented at the time.

“The attempted shooting of journalist Rubén Haro is outrageous and shocking, weeks after another Mexican journalist barely escaped with her life after a knife attack,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative. “With 2022 already on track to become the deadliest year for Mexican journalists in recent memory, authorities must do everything in their power to break the cycle of violence and impunity that allows these attacks to continue.”

CPJ called the Sonora prosecutor’s office and the special prosecutor’s office for comment, but no one answered.

Haro told CPJ that he founded Las Noticias de la Red three years ago and serves as its editor and main reporter. He said he had contributed less to the outlet recently, after he joined the municipal government of Nogales, a city at the U.S. border, as a public relations official.

Haro told CPJ that he had never received threats or had been targeted with violence before, saying, “I have no idea why I was targeted. I have never had problems with anyone, nor have we [at Las Noticias de la Red] had any problems as a team.”

Las Noticias de la Red covers a wide range of current events in Ciudad Obregón and its surrounding municipalities, including news about crime and security, according to CPJ’s review of its output.

Just over an hour before the attack, the outlet published two videos about shootouts in Ciudad Obregón, showing how a reporter for the outlet followed emergency services while commenting about the events.

Haro told CPJ that he had reported the attack to the federal attorney general’s office and had received security from municipal police. He added that he was still waiting to hear from the National Guard, Mexico’s elite police corps, for further security.

Haro said he had been in touch with the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists after the attack about being incorporated in a protection program. An official with that office, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed to CPJ that the agency has established contact with Haro.

Mexico is the deadliest country in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. According to CPJ research, at least three journalists have been murdered for their work this year. CPJ is investigating another eight killings to determine the motive.