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Journalist assassinated in Chihuahua; 2016 now the most lethal year for the press

The following is a translation of an 11 December 2016 article originally published on articulo19.org.

Journalist Adrián Rodríguez Samaniego, who worked for Antena Radio 7690 AM, was shot and killed on the morning of 10 December 2016 as he was leaving his home in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state. Rodríguez's assassination represents the eleventh killing of a journalist in Mexico in 2016, the highest figure ever documented by ARTICLE 19.

For more than a year Rodríguez had been covering state government affairs. Previously he worked as a "nota roja" reporter for the El Heraldo de Chihuahua newspaper, chronicling violence and crime. He also participated in a weekly reporters' roundtable held at the radio station where he worked.

It is worth mentioning that Rodríguez had been investigating the imprisonment of two individuals based on fabricated evidence. His research partner - who is not being identified for security reasons - told ARTICLE 19 that this investigation could be the motive for the assassination.

ARTICLE 19 notes with the alarm that efforts such as the early warning mechanism requested by the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and approved by the government of Chihuahua are proving ineffective, and attacks on journalists remain a constant.

It is important to highlight that 2016 has now become the year with the highest number of assassinations of journalists in Mexico, with a total of 11. In addition, since 2000, ARTICLE 19 has documented 100 assassinations of journalists, 12 of which took place in Chihuahua.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation in this case, with strict adherence to legal norms, and taking Rodríguez's journalism work into account as a primary focus.

Likewise, ARTICLE 19 calls on the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and the government of Chihuahua to implement all necessary measures to safeguard the life, liberty and security of the journalist's family. The organisation also calls on these two government bodies to ensure the effective implementation of the early warning system for the prevention of attacks on journalists in Chihuahua.

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