The journalist, Regina Martinez, covered crime and drug trafficking for Proceso magazine in the gulf state of Veracruz, where authorities said her body was found in the bathroom of her home in Xalapa, the capital. The magazine is known for high-profile coverage of narco-related crime and corruption.
State officials in Veracruz said police went to the house after receiving a telephone call. Martinez’s body showed signs of blows to the face and body and she appeared to have died of strangulation, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Mexico’s drug war has made it a dangerous place to work as a journalist, especially for those who cover the drug trade and organized crime. More than 40 Mexican journalists have been killed or have disappeared since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which has pressed for greater protections for journalists in Mexico.
Martinez was a veteran reporter, according to Mexican media reports. Her recent work was dominated by crime stories. On Friday, an online story carrying her byline described the arrests of nine municipal police officers suspected of drug ties. A day before that, she wrote about a shootout and the arrest of a woman suspected of commanding hit men. Earlier articles described proceedings against a mayor arrested on suspicion of links to drug traffickers.
Mexican journalists in volatile drug-trafficking areas, such as Veracruz, face high risks because they live in those communities and are often easily tracked down by crime gangs. Mexican lawmakers recently passed a constitutional reform that would beef up protection of journalists by making attacks against them a federal crime. The measure requires approval by more than half of Mexico’s 32 states.
-- Ken Ellingwood
Photo: Law enforcement officials gather outside the home of Mexican journalist Regina Martinez in Xalapa, Veracruz State. Credit: Serigio Hernandez / AFP/Getty Images