A Mexican journalist was assassinated on Monday hours after his relatives reported his disappearance, authorities said in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries to practice this profession.
Benjamin Morales Hernandez, a 50-year-old reporter and director of the Noticias Xonoidag digital portal in the municipality of Sonoyta, had been missing since Sunday afternoon, the state prosecutor’s office said.
Local police found his vehicle abandoned on a road near Sonoyta, then Mexican National Guard agents found his body with gunshot wounds on another road near the town where he lived.
“Several tracks are being investigated, relating to the personal, family and professional aspects (of Benjamin Morales Hernandez), but also on the elements collected on the spot, including a message on a billboard,” said the prosecution. in a press release, without detailing the content of the message.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed, based on local media reports, that Morales was abducted from his home by an armed group and then killed.
RSF also warned Monday against the disappearance, since April 30, of another reporter, Francisco Ramirez Padilla, in the state of Oaxaca (south) and called on the local prosecution to “do everything possible” to find it.
Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in which to practice the profession of journalist. More than a hundred of them have been murdered there since 2000, according to the Human Rights Commission.
More than 90% of the murders of journalists in the country go unpunished, denounce organizations defending the freedom of expression.