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Radio host assassinated in Tabasco is third journalist killed in Mexico in one month

This article was originally published on the articulo19.org website on 22 February 2016.

On the morning of 20 February 2016, radio and television host Moisés Dagdug Lutzow was assassinated at his home in Villahermosa, Tabasco. It is alarming that within the space of a month three journalists have been killed in Mexico, while federal authorities have at the same time failed to provide a strong response to ensure optimal conditions for journalists to freely carry out their work.

Dagdug Lutzow hosted the De frente a Tabasco radio and television programme broadcast by radio XEVX and the TVX television station. He also directed the Grupo VX media company. His editorial stance was characterised by his criticism of the actions of state governor Arturo Núñez Jiménez.

According to Grupo VX news director Ángel Antonio Jiménez, Dagdug Lutzow had received threats which were reported on his television programme in the days before his assassination. The journalist did not specify who might be behind the threats but said that he would continue with his critical stance. Angel Jiménez said that Dagdug Lutzow had received phone calls from people asking for personal details, such as his home address and where he was at the time of the call, among other information.

Faced with this situation, Dagdug Lutzow made improvements to his security system, including installing surveillance cameras at his home.

According to witnesses, the assassins were inside Dagdug Lutzow's home when he entered it at approximately 7:00 a.m. on 20 February. After killing the journalist, the perpetrators escaped in Dagdug Lutzow's vehicle, making a loud noise as they destroyed the gate to his property.

Colleagues at radio XEVX said they heard the noise coming from the journalist's home, which is located across from the radio station. They saw that the journalist's house had been broken into and called the state police. Upon entering Dagdug Lutzow's home, they found that the journalist had been stabbed. The State Attorney General's Office has opened a preliminary investigation into the assassination.

Dagdug Lutzow's murder is the second attack documented by ARTICLE 19 in Tabasco in 2016. On 10 February, two individuals attempted to assassinate Pedro Sala García, a correspondent for the Tabasco Hoy daily newspaper. The assassination attempt took place at Sala García's home in the Ganadera neighbourhood of the municipality of Emiliano Zapata.

According to ARTICLE 19 records, 92 journalists and commentators have been assassinated in Mexico since 2000. Nineteen of those murders have taken place during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, three of them in 2016.

The failure to carry out effective investigations into crimes against journalists creates an environment of vulnerability for those working in the profession, sending a message to perpetrators that there will be no consequences for their actions and thus permitting attacks on the press to continue.

As such, ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities to carry out a swift and thorough investigation into the crimes perpetrated against Dagdug Lutzow and Sala García, including exhaustive scrutiny of links to the victims' journalism work, in accordance with the provisions of the Joint Declaration on Crimes against Freedom of Expression.

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