Five Mexican journalists have been shot and wounded in a single day, in the worst day of violence against the country’s press in more than 10 years.
In one of the attacks on Tuesday, four photojournalists were shot near a military barracks in the southern Guerrero state after they returned from a crime scene. They had been covering one of the many homicides that occur on a near-daily basis in the city of Chilpancingo. State prosecutors said they consider it a case of attempted murder.
Hours later, the reporter Maynor Ramón Ramírez and a companion were shot and wounded in the neighbouring state of Michoacán.
In his daily press conference on Wednesday, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said “we must regret this”, referring to the Guerrero shooting, but did not offer any information on a possible motive in the attack.
The shootings come just days after three journalists were abducted and held for days in Taxco, also in Guerrero state. They were later released, and there was no information on the motive for their abduction.
Guerrero has been the scene of deadly turf battles between around a dozen drug gangs and cartels. Michoacán has suffered similar turf battles between the Jalisco cartel and local gangs.
The shootings and abductions on Tuesday mark some of the largest mass attacks on reporters in one place in Mexico since one day in early 2012, when the bodies of three news photographers were found dumped in plastic bags in a canal in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz. Those killings were blamed on the once-powerful Zetas drug cartel.
Earlier this month, a photographer for a newspaper in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez was found shot to death in his car. His death was the fifth instance of a journalist being killed in Mexico so far in 2023.
In the past five years alone, the Committee to Protect Journalists documented the killings of at least 54 journalists in Mexico.