Story By: Stephen Jenkins, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A journalist has been gunned down in broad daylight in the busy tourist resort of Cancun in Mexico.
Javier Rodriguez Valladores, a reporter and cameraman for the Canal 10 news network, was shot to death along with another man at 6pm. The two men were walking together when witnesses reported hearing several shots fired. The other man who has not been identified was also killed.
The death of the popular journalist, affectionately nicknamed “Winnie the Pooh”, has caused consternation among his fellow journalists.
The Public Prosector in the state of Quintana Roo initially ruled out that the victim had been targeted because of his profession, claiming that robbery was the likely motive. He said: “He was outside working hours and not wearing any uniform, so for now we are not treating this as a direct attack on the freedom of expression.” However, he later added that they “were not ruling out any motive.”
Rodriguez Valladores is the third journalist to be killed in the state of Quintana Roo over the course of the summer. Jose Guadalupe Chana Dzip, a reporter for the digital news outlet, Playa News, was gunned down in a bar in the town of Felipe Grillo Puerto in June, while in July Ruben Prat from the same organisation was shot to death on the street in the popular tourist town of Playa del Carmen.
Local journalists were more inclined to believe that the men had been murdered specifically because they were journalists. A representative said: “Freedom of expression is in grave danger, as is the safety of everyone, with this wave of crime and violence.”
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Eleven reporters were murdered in 2017 alone. Since 2000 over a hundred journalists have been killed, and according to news organisations most of the murders have remained unsolved.
No suspects have yet been identified for the killing of Javier Rodriguez Valladores.