18:58 GMT +317 December 2017
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    A Mexican journalist holds a picture of Ricardo Monlui during a protest in Cordoba, Veracruz state, Mexico, on March 19, 2017.

    Mexican Press Freedoms Questioned as Another Journalist Is Killed in Cold Blood

    © AFP 2017/ Ivan Sanchez
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    Mexican journalist, Ricardo Monlui Cabrera, was shot dead in front of his family in a hit-and-run slaying as they left a restaurant in the drug and gang riddled state of Veracruz.

    Monlui was leaving the popular diner after breakfast with his wife and son in the town of Yanga, outside the larger city of Cordoba in Mexico's east, when a man who appeared to have been waiting, shot him twice and fled, local police chief Carlos Samuel Hernandez said.

    Hernandez added that officials were trying to identify the killer and were not yet sure of a motive.

    His wife and son apparently were unhurt in the attack.

    A source, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP that as the family were walking back to their car, another car pulled up and at least two gunmen opened fire, leaving Monlui's body sprawled on the ground.

    Monlui was head of the Cordoba region's press association and was a columnist for the new newspapers El Sol de Cordoba and Diario de Xalapa, as well as the business magazine Analysis Politico.

    According to Proceso, the victim had not been threatened before and did not have any security measures in place.

    He is at least the 11th journalist killed in Veracruz in the last six years. Monlui's death follows the murder of Pedro Tamayo Rosas in July 20, 2016, who was gunned down outside his home in Tierra Blanca.

    The state is a key battle area for rivaling drug factions, including the notorious Las Zetas, and is infamous for corruption among its politicians.

    In February, Reporters Without Borders said that 99 reporters were murdered between 2000 and 2016 in Mexico and that the country ranks among the most deadly in the world for media industry workers. The Veracruz area, with 19 journalists killed, was called the most hazardous.

    The murders of journalists show no signs of abating despite the formation of the State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists in 2012, that was established by the Mexican government to reduce the killings of media professionals.

    Cecilio Pineda Birto, an outspoken editor of La Voz de la Tierra Caliente, a local newspaper, and a crime reporter for the El Universal and El Debate dailies, became the first journalist to be killed in 2017 after being gunned down in cold blood on March 2 in Ciudad Altamirano, in Guerrero's Tierra Caliente region.

    He was known for being outspoken and criticizing local corruption, and had been the target of threats and murder attempts in recent years, according to Reporters Without Borders. 

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    Tags:
    crime, drug cartel, freedom of speech, press freedom, murder, assassination, media, journalists, corruption, Reporters Without Borders, Veracruz, South America, Mexico
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