Prosecutors in southern Mexico said Tuesday, August 23, that a journalist killed this week had a son who was gunned down in July.
Officials in southern Guerrero state say they are investigating a possible link between the killing Monday of journalist Fredid Román, and his son’s death on July 1.
Prosecutor Ramón Celaya Gamboa said his office was also investigating possible links to the elder Román’s work as a journalist. Román’s program, “The Reality of Guerrero,” focused heavily on state-level politics. He also wrote a column.
“All possible theories have to be worked on,” Celaya Gamboa. “We still have to rule out that it wasn’t related to his work.”
But the killing of his son, Bladimir, remains as one possible lead and illustrates the complex and persistent violence that plagues Guerrero.
The younger Román worked as a chicken distributor in an area on the outskirts of the state capital, Chilpancingo, that is dominated by two warring drug gangs, and two warring bands of vigilantes.
At least one of the gangs in this four-sided conflict began shaking down chicken vendors for protection payments earlier this year, and killing those who refused to pay.
“This is a conflict-prone area where authorities will have to increase their presence,” said Celaya Gamboa. He did not say whether the extortion scheme might have played a role in the killing of the elder Román, who did not write about his son’s death, apart from a couple of expressions of grief.
Román was the 15th media worker killed so far this year nationwide. Mexico is now considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone.
Jan-Albert Hootsen, the Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote that “2022 is now the deadliest year in Mexican history for the press.”
While organized crime is often involved in journalist killings, small town officials or politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects as well. Journalists running small news outlets in Mexico’s interior are easy targets.
Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado, the Mexican representative of the U.N. Human Rights Office, wrote that “the persistent attacks on journalists in Mexico and particularly the repeated killings, have a profound impact on Mexican society.”
“The deliberate terror is not limited to just journalists, but extends to any person or group that tries to exercise their right to investigate, critically analyze and publish information and opinion,” he wrote.