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Missing journalist found dead in Sinaloa, Mexico

Antonio Gamboa Urías, a journalist and editor of Nueva Prensa magazine, based in the municipality of Los Mochis, Sinaloa State, was found dead on Thursday 23 October, 12 days after he went missing. Gamboa Urías, a journalist with more than 18 years' experience, was the director of Nueva Prensa for 10 years. The magazine touches on issues related to corruption and politics in the region.

Gamboa Urías's assassination represents the fifth murder of media personnel in the northwestern state of Sinaloa since 2004. The last two assassinations took place in October 2014, with the first being the killing of community leader and radio host Atilano Román and the second that of Gamboa Urías.

“The crimes against commentators in Sinaloa should not be viewed as isolated events, rather they are the result of a climate of impunity and increasing violence not just in Sinaloa but throughout the country. The silencing of the press has severe repercussions on the ability of society to obtain information," said Darío Ramírez, director of Article 19's Mexico and Central America Office. With the assassination of Gamboa Urías, 82 journalists have now been murdered with a possible link to their work, nine of them during the administration of current president Enrique Peña Nieto and six of them in 2014.

The assassinations of the two Sinaloan commentators have taken place within a general context of violence in Mexico, with the unsolved disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state, and the Mexican army's extrajudicial assassination of 22 people in the town of Tlatlaya, Mexico state.

"The general feeling in Sinaloa is that we now don't know who to be careful of, in the past it was clear that it was organised crime, now it can be whoever feels that their interests have been attacked in some way," said Marcos Santos, editor of the Noroeste newspaper, in an interview with ARTICLE 19.

The Mexican government, via the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression and the Mechanism for Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, has not provided any statement regarding the assassinations in Sinaloa, demonstrating the indifference with which these government bodies typically act.

The Mexican state has an obligation to protect the human rights of the families and colleagues of the victim. In addition, it must guarantee a thorough investigation and punishment of those responsible for these crimes. And the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims should intervene to assist the relatives of the assassinated journalist.

ARTICLE 19 deplores Gamboa Urías's assassination, expressing its solidarity with the journalist's family while calling on the government to ensure that an exhaustive investigation is carried out, taking into account the Gamboa Urías work as a possible motive for the crime.

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