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Ninth journalist killed in Mexico this year as violence against media soars

Murder of veteran Luis Enrique Ramírez – found in bag beside road – brings estimated death toll of journalists in president’s term to 34

A Mexican journalist has been found dead in Sinaloa state, authorities say, marking the ninth death of a media worker in a unprecedentedly bloody year for the country which has drawn international scrutiny.

Luis Enrique Ramírez, a veteran journalist and columnist at El Debate, was found dead on the side of a highway, the state’s attorney general said on Twitter.

Ramírez’s body was discovered on Thursday by security forces in a black bag and wrapped in plastic, his employer said.

Ramírez was a recognised figure in Sinaloa – in Mexico’s north-west – and beyond, having worked at some of the country’s largest papers across a 40-year career, according to El Debate.

Ramírez had previously been on the receiving end of “aggressions”, said Juan Vazquez of Article 19, a human rights organisation dedicated to press freedom.

Alfonso Margarito Martínez Esquivel shares information on a murder scene in Tijuana Baja, in May 2019, Mexico.
‘Threats and bullets’: wave of killings highlights perils of journalism in Mexico
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Ramírez said in an interview with local media several years ago: “I do feel the imminent danger that I am the one who follows, because there is a pattern [of murders] in which I fit.”

Presidential spokesperson Jesus Cuevas said on Twitter on Thursday afternoon that the federal government would work with state and local governments to investigate Ramírez’s death and that they would “reinforce security measures for journalists”.
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Violence against the press has skyrocketed during president Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, according to an Article 19 report published in April.

During his administration alone, 34 journalists have been killed, according to Article 19’s count, including Ramírez.

US senators Tim Kaine and Marco Rubio called on the US to urge Mexico to do more to protect journalists in February, criticising López Obrador for lashing out against his critics in the media.

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