In early 2022, in the Mexican city of Tijuana, two journalists were murdered less than a week apart. The killings of Margarito Martínez and Lourdes Maldonado represent the multiple dangers facing media professionals in Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. They are caught between the worlds of politics and organised crime, which sometimes work hand in hand. Journalists' calls for help seem to go unheeded, while the Mexican government vilifies them. FRANCE 24's Laurence Cuvillier and Matthieu Comin report from Tijuana.
The Mexican city of Tijuana, located on the US-Mexico border, had a violent start to 2022. Two journalists, Margarito Martínez and Lourdes Maldonado, were murdered there just six days apart.
Photojournalist Margarito Martínez (pictured) knew he faced a threat from organised crime. He covered murders on a daily basis in the streets of Tijuana. The photojournalist had been threatened by a blogger in December 2021, according to the group YoSíSoyPeriodista ("I am a journalist"), which is asking the authorities to provide protective measures for journalists. Martínez was shot dead on January 17, 2022 outside his home.
''I fear for my life''
Journalist Lourdes Maldonado also knew her life was in danger. At a 2019 press conference, feeling threatened by a senator from the ruling party, she asked for the help of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. "I am here to ask for your help and ask for justice. I fear for my life," she told him. "He is a powerful politician who refuses to pay the wages he owes me. He's a senator from your party and your next candidate for governor in the Baja California elections: Jaime Bonilla." On January 23, 2022, Maldonado was shot dead outside her home.
For years, Mexico has been one of the most dangerous and deadliest countries for journalists. According to Reporters Without Borders, 125 journalists have been killed there over the past 20 years (2003-2022) for reasons directly related to their profession.