Mexican journalist shot dead at restaurant | News | DW | 03.10.2018
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Mexican journalist shot dead at restaurant

Sergio Martinez Gonzalez was murdered while he ate breakfast with his wife. Free press groups are mourning the death of yet another journalist in Mexico, but authorities have argued the killing wasn't tied to journalism.

Sergio Martinez Gonzalez, the editor of a local news outlet in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, was shot dead Wednesday morning, the latest victim in Mexico's wave of journalist murders.

Martinez, who owned and ran the publication Enfoque, had just dropped off his daughters at school and was breakfasting with his wife at a local restaurant when two people on a motorcycle stopped in front of the couple and opened fire, local media reported.

Martinez's wife survived the attack, and was receiving medical attention, Mexican newspaper El Universal said.

The Chiapas attorney general's office announced on Twitter that it was investigating the murder.

Journalism not a factor: authorities

Ignacio Alejandro Vila Chavez, spokesman for the attorney general, has said the murder was not related to journalistic activities. He highlighted that Martinez's last employment was not as a journalist, but as a bar owner.

According to El Universal, Martinez had shut down his Enfoque newspaper three years ago after a supposed conflict with the violent international gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), but continued publishing online. In the attorney general's message, Vila said Martinez himself had been investigated in the past for his "probable participation" in the murder of an MS-13 member.

"In light of this, the elements do not exist to consider that this homicide had to do with his journalistic occupation," Vila said.

A spokesperson for the Mexico office of Article 19, an organization dedicated to defending freedom of speech internationally, was unable to provide an official statement on Martinez's death. 

"We will continue documenting the case, and once we have sufficient elements to establish a direct connection between the aggression and the exercise of freedom of expression, we will publish a statement," the spokesperson told DW. 

In recent years, journalist and free press organizations have accused Mexican authorities of failing to adequately protect members of the press. On Wednesday, many lamented Martinez's death.

The murder took place in the costal town of Tuxtla Chico in Chiapas state, close to the border with Guatemala. It came shortly after the death of journalist Mario Gomez last month, who was also killed in Chiapas.

According to the International Press Institute, 14 journalists were murdered in Mexico last year, making it the deadliest country for journalists. Martinez's death brings this year's total of murdered journalists to at least 11.

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