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Investigators try to discard link to Mexican reporter's work as motive for his murder

ARTICLE19 deeply regrets the terrible news confirmed by Veracruz authorities that journalist Gregorio Jiménez has been found dead. The organisation offers its sincere condolences to Jiménez's family and stands with all those who are calling for justice in this case. Jiménez went missing on 5 February.

From 2000 to the present ARTICLE19 has recorded cases of 75 journalists who have been killed in Mexico for reasons potentially connected with their work. Fifteen of those were in Veracruz, and 10 of those have taken place during the administration of governor Javier Duarte, who took office on 1 December 2010.

It is worrying that, as in past cases in the same state, the Veracruz Attorney General's Office is attempting to discard lines of investigation related to Jiménez's work, saying that a “personal conflict between neighbours" was the motive for the killing.

Jiménez was a crime reporter for El Liberal del Sur, Noti Sur and La Red in Veracruz, and had recently covered some cases in Villa Allende, Coatzacoalcos, in the southern part of Veracruz.

At the end of October 2013, as part of a journalistic investigation, the owner of a bar, where a crime had taken place, threated Jiménez. At the end of November, Jiménez revealed the name of a restaurateur in Coatzacoalcos who was known to police for running a "safe house" for people being held hostage, including migrants moving through the region.

ARTICLE19 has information showing that for the last six months, a criminal gang has been threatening local media outlets in Veracruz to make them stop reporting on criminal activity.

Against this history of threats against Gregorio Jiménez:

ARTICLE19 calls on Veracruz authorities not to drop any line of investigation related to the murder of Gregorio Jiménez.

ARTICLE19 calls on those responsible for the investigation to consider the journalist's professional work as a possible motive, and to take measures to protect his family and the media outlets where Jiménez worked. It is worrying that Enoc Maldonado, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, was the same person responsible for the inept and incomplete investigation into the homicide of journalist Regina Martínez.

ARTICLE19 is also calling on the State of Mexico to safeguard the practice of journalism and the physical safety of media workers in Veracruz who, this past Friday 7 February, during a protest calling for the safe return of Gregorio Jiménez, revealed that the region “has no safe conditions for journalists to work in”.

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