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Journalist who covered police beat is killed in Mexico

This statement was originally published on sipiapa.org on 3 March 2017.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the murder of Mexican journalist Cecilio Pineda Birto and urged the authorities to take all the necessary actions to identify those responsible.

Pineda Birto was murdered last night (March 2) in Altamirano city, Guerrero state. According to local media that cited police sources Pineda Birto was at a car wash facility lying in a hammock waiting for his service to end when unidentified persons riding a motorcycle shot him.

IAPA President Matt Sanders deplored the murder and expressed sympathy with the victim's family and colleagues. Sanders, senior editor and general manager of Deseret Digital Media, Salt Lake City, Utah, announced that violence in the region, especially in Mexico, will be a relevant issue during the organization's Midyear Meeting to be held in Antigua, Guatemala, March 31 to April 3.

For his part the chairman of the IAPA's Press Freedom Committee, Roberto Rock, said, "We keep giving in Mexico bad news to the world, regretting the killing of yet another journalist and concerned because this probably will be added to the hundreds of other cases of unpunished murders in that country."

Pineda Birto, 38, was the editor of the newspaper La Voz de Tierra Caliente, and stringer for El Universal and other local media. He covered local police actions and reported on social media that he had received threats from organized crime. In 2015 emerged uninjured in an attempt on his life. On Facebook, where had many followers, he reported on the violence in the region and the fight amongst criminal gangs. Some hours before his murder he had showed a video in which a reference was made to the leader of a gang of kidnappers.

Rock, editor of the online newspaper La Silla Rota of Mexico City, Mexico, stressed the urgency of "putting an end to the climate of impunity in Mexico" and called on the government there "to comply with its duty of applying true justice in the case, investigating it, identifying the perpetrators and bringing them to justice."

According to IAPA statistics in 2016 a total of 13 journalists were killed in Mexico: Adrián Rodríguez Samaniego, Mario Delgadillo Ramos, Aurelio Campos, Pedro Tamayo, Salvador Olmos García, Zamira Esther Bautista, Elpidio Ramos Zárate, Manuel Torres, Francisco Pacheco Beltrán, Moisés Dagdug Lutzow, Anabel Flores Salazar, Reinel Martínez Cerqueda and Marcos Hernández Bautista.

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