Mexican crime reporter’s body found decapitated and dumped on railroad tracks in an area plagued by gang violence
- Julio Valdivia, 44, specialized in ‘nota roja’ journalism that focuses on crime
- His body was found alongside his motorbike near the violent city of Veracruz
- He covered a confrontation between police and criminals the previous day
A journalist who wrote about crime in a violent area of eastern Mexico was found beheaded on Wednesday.
Julio Valdivia, 44, specialized in the ‘nota roja’ journalism that focuses on gruesome crime and violence.
He was found alongside his motorbike near railway tracks in the remote Tezonapa municipality, about 100 kilometers from the dangerous state capital, Veracruz.
It is the latest grisly murder of a reporter in one of the world’s most dangerous nations for journalists.
Mexican journalist Julio Valdivia, who wrote about crime in the violent Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, has been found beheaded
He was found alongside his motorbike near railway tracks in the remote Tezonapa municipality, about 100 kilometers from the dangerous state capital, Veracruz
Valdivia, of the newspaper El Mundo de Veracruz, is the fifth journalist slain in Mexico this year, according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
A staff member at Valdivia’s newspaper said initially it was suspected that Valdivia might have been run over by a train, but that was ruled out by the prosecutor’s office.
‘Valdivia was found near the train tracks, beheaded and tortured,’ said the newspaper staff member, who did not wish to be identified.
Hugo Gutierrez, security minister and head of the police in eastern Veracruz state, condemned the ‘cowardly murder’ of the reporter.
‘In coordination with the state attorney general’s office we will exhaust all resources to find those responsible,’ he said in a statement.
He had covered a confrontation between police and suspected criminals the previous day.
Valdivia ‘worked in a complicated area where there are criminal groups,’ said Ana Laura Perez of the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists, a government body.
He had covered a confrontation between police and suspected criminals the previous day
‘It must be investigated if he had reported something that bothered these criminal groups.’
Veracruz is a flashpoint in turf wars between Mexico’s rival drug cartels as well as the country’s deadliest state for media workers.
In March, journalist Maria Elena Ferral was shot dead by two assailants on motorbikes when getting into her car in Veracruz.
RSF regularly ranks Mexico alongside war-torn Syria and Afghanistan as the world’s most dangerous countries for news media.
The watchdog urged the authorities to probe whether Valdivia was murdered because of his work.
‘All lines of inquiry must be exhausted, mainly those that have to do with his journalism because he worked in an area marked by violence,’ Balbina Flores, the group’s representative in Mexico, told AFP.
Journalist Miroslava Breach was murdered in 2017 by a Mexican drug cartel enforcer who has been sentenced to 50 years in prison
More than 100 reporters have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, where asking questions about political corruption or powerful drug cartels can be a deadly business.
Only a fraction of those crimes have resulted in convictions.
In one rare such sentencing, a man convicted of ordering the 2017 murder of prominent journalist Miroslava Breach was condemned last month to 50 years in prison.
‘We condemn the homicide of Julio Valdivia,’ the Veracruz government said on its Twitter account.
A local media protection group known as the CEAPP said in a statement that Valdivia did not have extra protection measures as he had not reported facing threats to his security. But the group demanded the authorities ‘shed light’ on the murder.