MEXICO CITY — A journalist who covered the police beat in the Mexican state of Oaxaca was found dead Wednesday, reportedly with gunshot wounds.
It was unclear whether Alberto Lopez Bello was attacked in retaliation for his work for El Imparcial, a newspaper in the city of Oaxaca, the state capital. The paper published a brief statement Wednesday demanding a thorough investigation and saying the killing “demonstrates the vulnerability to which communicators are exposed in their daily work of providing truthful and timely information to the citizenry.” [link in Spanish]
The Oaxacan state government said that Lopez's body was found along with the corpse of another man in Trinidad de Viguera, a city north of the Oaxacan capital. The news website Milenio reported that Lopez suffered gunshot wounds. [link in Spanish]
The second man was identified by state officials as Arturo Alejandro Franco Rojas. Milenio reported that Franco worked for a municipal police intelligence unit.
Mexico remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
Lopez was the fourth journalist slain during the seven months that President Enrique Peña Nieto has been in office. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 53 journalists were killed or vanished during the six-year term of former President Felipe Calderon, Peña Nieto's predecessor.
Oaxacan Gov. Gabino Cue instructed the state prosecutor’s office to refer the case to the federal attorney general. In May, Mexico passed a law giving federal prosecutors more authority to take up cases involving crimes against journalists.
Sanchez is a researcher in The Times' Mexico City bureau.