Mexico City murder deepens threatened journalists' fears

This still image from video released by Local Attorney's office August 4, 2015 from footage of a surveillance camera shows the alleged killers of news photographer Ruben Espinosa and four other women the moment they left the apartment building where the murders occurred in Mexico City.
PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City was once seen as an island of refuge in one of the world's most dangerous countries for reporters, but the brutal killing of a prominent photojournalist has shattered that image.

The death of news photographer Ruben Espinosa in a gory five-victim homicide has unleashed new fears for other journalists who, like him, have fled to the capital after receiving threats in their hometowns.

There are currently at least a dozen journalists from around the country sheltering in Mexico City because they fear for their safety in a nation where, according to Reporters Without Borders, at least 88 of their colleagues have been murdered in the last 15 years.

Once seen as a sort of ceasefire zone - or at least a place to hide out anonymously amid nine million people - Mexico City suddenly seems a lot less safe since Espinosa was found Friday with a bullet through his head, his hands bound and his body showing signs of torture.

Four women killed alongside Espinosa were found in similar condition. They included human rights activist Nadia Vera.

Judicial authorities released surveillance footage of the alleged killers Tuesday night.

"This was the armored city, and now it's broken," said a colleague at Espinosa's funeral Monday who, like the slain photojournalist, hails from Veracruz.

The eastern state has been described as the deadliest in Mexico for journalists by rights group Article 19, which says 17 journalists have been killed there in the last 15 years - 13 of them since current Governor Javier Duarte came to power in 2010.

- 'No kind of life' -

Espinosa, a photographer for the prestigious investigative magazine Proceso, had moved to Mexico City two months ago after receiving threats in Veracruz.

He had also been beaten by state police in 2013.

Another Veracruz colleague sheltering in the capital said Espinosa's killing had brought his old hometown fears back to his doorstep.

"After what happened to Ruben, your fear returns. We exiles don't feel so safe among the multitude anymore," said the political cartoonist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The cartoonist fled the state in 2012 after finding a threatening note in his car. "Calladito," it said - "Quiet." That one word chilled his blood and convinced him to flee the country, he said. But he later returned to Mexico, counting on the sheer size of the sprawling capital to keep him safe.

Living in self-exile is "no kind of life," he told AFP.

"It's a life of constant anguish, nightmares, crying. It's a life of not telling people where you are, not arriving where you say you will, changing your phone number, mistrusting everyone, even your friends," he said.

Currently around 15 Mexican journalists are reported to be living in self-exile abroad.

The number of colleagues seeking to join them has increased substantially in recent years, said Philippe Olle-Laprune, the head of the Citlaltepetl House of Refuge in Mexico City, which shelters persecuted journalists and artists from around the world.

He called Espinosa's killing "a horrible wake-up call," adding that "the violence hits closer to home every day."

- 'Flimsy' protection -

The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Mexico the eighth deadliest country in the world for reporters.

Seeking to combat the violence, the government has launched a protection program for threatened journalists and rights activists, plus a special prosecutors' office for crimes against free speech.

But one former journalist enrolled in the so-called "protective mechanism," Balbina Flores, said the program "has a lot of problems," particularly its slow registration procedures.

The Inter American Press Association agreed, criticizing the program's "flimsy, inefficient performance." Espinosa had opted not to register with the program, saying he did not trust the authorities.

His death has left journalists in the capital living in a climate of "fear, uncertainty and defenselessness," said Flores, who now heads the free speech program at the city's human rights commission.

More about

mexico
Purchase this article for republication.

VIDEOS YOU SHOULD WATCH

  • #Joeyjios: We try bubble tea mala hotpot and bubble tea toast

    Full story: http://www.asiaone.com/food/we-try-bubble-tea-mala-hotpot-and-bubble-tea-toast-guess-which-ones-got-us-hooked Mala and bubble milk tea within the same hotpot? What about bubble tea on toast? Who even comes up with these ideas?! This week on #Joeyjios, we give these dubious food creations a taste-test to see if they're worth your time, money and calories. #bubbletea #bbt #boba --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Thirstdays: Where we talk weird dates and wild fantasies

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/entertainment/thirstdays-where-we-talk-weird-dates-and-wild-fantasies Ooo, it's been a hot week and the thirst is real at AsiaOne. Join Le En and Bryan as they chat about weird dates, constant 'cravings', and Beyonce's thigh gap! And they are quenching that thirst with a cup of root beer float to celebrate the return of a certain fast food restaurant. Thirstdays is a fortnightly AsiaOne #entertainment series where our hosts Le En and Bryan give you a peek into their personal lives while they satisfy their thirst over a drink, have a no-holds-barred chat, and do fun things. #gossip #confessions #realness --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Don't Say Cannot Ep4: He beats people up, but for the country

    Full story: http://www.asiaone.com/singapore/dont-say-cannot-delinquent-national-wrestler He used to beat people up, simply because he had "too much energy" to expend. Now, he still beats people up - but for the country. Meet 24-year-old #Singapore national wrestler Toh Xin Ran. Seeing the number of medals that he has been awarded and the respectful manner in which he now interacts with his wrestling coach, it is hard to imagine that Xin Ran used to be a troubled kid in his younger days. #wrestling #sportsman --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: Taste-testing The Alley Luxe and CHICHA San Chen

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/food/alley-luxe-and-chicha-san-chen-opens-week-heres-what-try A Michelin-standard bubble tea for $4.70? A drink that looks like the Northern Lights? This week, #Joeyjios her colleague Le En to check out two new bubble tea (BBT) stores that are opening along Orchard Road. Which will they prefer? Watch to find out. #Thedeerishere #TheAlley #Chichasanchen #Boba --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Office Tea Episode 5: Bosses and Things

    It’s been a few weeks - let’s find out if the higher-ups of AsiaOne have any regrets about hiring Le En. Efforts were made to make nice, charity is involved and work is never-ending still. Follow and subscribe so you won't miss a single episode of our new series, Office Tea! To catch more of her antics, follow her @goofy_feline! --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: DIY your way into mum's heart this Mother's Day

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/women/joeyjios-diy-your-way-mums-heart-mothers-day Mother’s Day is this Sunday! Have you gotten mum a gift yet? This week on #Joeyjios, Joey tries her hand at DIY projects that’s thoughtful, useful and inexpensive. #Mothersday #DIY --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Don't Say Cannot Ep3: He 'sees' the world with the help of tech

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/dont-say-cannot-he-may-be-blind-he-can-text-faster-you Edwin Khoo, 43, surprises friends with the speed at which he types on his phone. The reason? He's been blind since birth. But #technology has been the game-changer for Edwin in navigating the world around him despite his #disability, allowing him to #travel and even host his own online #podcast. --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Office Tea Episode 4: The Dress Code

    It’s in the employee handbook - but does ANYONE actually read and follow the dress code? Are calves too scandalous? Le En puts on Athleisure and tries to get away with it! Follow and subscribe so you won't miss a single episode of our new series, Office Tea! To catch more of her antics, follow her @goofy_feline! --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • Caryn Cheng finds the best deals at IMM's Greater Savings Home and Furnishing Sale

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/5-couples-share-most-expensive-items-they-have-ever-bought-their-home AsiaOne challenges Caryn Cheng to find the best deals at the upcoming #IMM Greater Savings Home and Furnishing #Sale. IMM's Greater Savings Home & Furnishing Sale will start May 13 to 19. With 20 per cent off storewide at Best Denki and discounts of up to 50 per cent at stores such as INKAGU Outlet by Picket & Rail, Linen Gallery Outlet and Red Apple from May 17 to 19, this epic sale is not to be missed. Address: 2 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609601 Opening hours: 10am to 10pm #brandedcontent --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com
  • #Joeyjios: I try a ballet-inspired workout despite my two left feet

    Full story: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/joeyjios-i-try-ballet-inspired-workout-despite-my-two-left-feet Tendu, Arabesque and Grand Pliés? This week on #Joeyjios, I found out that these are in fact, not edible food dishes, but dance moves in ballet.  Watch as former professional ballerinas and co-founders of #BalletBody, Lisha Chin and Alison Carroll, take me through a snippet of their hour-long ballet-inspired workout while I try my best to keep up.  #Ballet #Barre #Fitness --- Read more: http://www.asiaone.com/ FOLLOW us on - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiaonecom - Twitter: https://twitter.com/asiaonecom - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asiaonecom/ EMAIL: For story leads, business enquiries, contact asiaone@mm2entertainment.com

SERVICES