Another journalist shot dead in Mexico, eighth so far this year

Armando Linares, director of Monitor Michoacan, the latest to be murdered in a spate of killings that has stirred international concern.

 Source: Aljazeera News

Reporters and photographers have been murdered this year in Mexico at the rate of almost one a week, despite claims from the government that the situation is under control [File: Eduardo Verdugo/AP Photo]
A journalist has been shot dead in western Mexico, becoming the eighth killed so far this year in an unprecedented spate of killings that has raised fears about the safety of journalists in the country.

Armando Linares, director of Monitor Michoacan, was shot dead at a house in the city of Zitacuaro in the state of Michoacan, the state attorney general’s office said on Tuesday.

Linares’ killing came six weeks after the slaying of a colleague, Roberto Toledo, from the same outlet Monitor Michoacan. It was Linares who announced Toledo’s death on January 31 in a video posted to social media.

Michoacan has long been convulsed by turf wars between powerful gangs battling for control of the market for illicit drugs.

There was no immediate information on a possible motive in the killing.

At the time of Toledo’s death, Linares told The Associated Press he had received several death threats after enrolling in a government journalist protection programme.

Asked who he thought was behind the threats, Linares said “they pass themselves off as an armed group, they pass themselves off as a criminal gang. We can’t verify whether it is true or not that they are this armed gang.”

Criminals in Mexico often claim they are part of a drug cartel to instil fear in their victims, whether or not they really are.

“We have organised crime, just like in the rest of the country, and Monitor worked on a lot of issues like illegal logging, given that we are near the monarch reserve,”

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