Mexico City – Seven journalists and media outlets have been attacked in Mexico in the past few days, with officials or people linked to politicians possibly involved in three of the incidents, the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, or Fundalex, said.
The killing of Rene Orta Salgado, a former El Sol de Cuernavaca reporter whose body was found Sunday, is among the most serious incidents.
Gerardo Ponce de Leon, editor of the Marquesina Politica Web site, was threatened and beaten with a pipe by two men at his office on May 10.
Gunmen opened fire on May 7 on the offices of the Hora Cero newspaper in Reynosa, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, while the offices of Megaradio Guadalajara were attacked on May 10 and the Nuevo Laredo daily El Mañana was attacked on May 11, the Fundalex said.
"It is not healthy for anyone in Mexico to have a rise in attacks of an authoritarian nature designed to silence freedom of expression and restrict Mexicans' right to information," the press rights group said in a statement.
State legislatures should approve the reforms to Article 73 of the constitution requiring federal officials to prosecute crimes against journalists and media outlets, as well as Article 71, which opens the way for the Law to Protect Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists, the Fundalex said.
Public servants or people linked to politicians may have been involved in two of the recent attacks, while a mayor is presumed to have played a role in another attack, the press rights group said.
"The Fundalex considers it regrettable that subjects close to or under the orders of those who are responsible for the promotion, dissemination, protection and defense of society's right to freedom of expression and right to information might be involved in these attacks," the non-governmental organization said.
"Due to the situation created by the attacks on journalists," a weekly tally of attacks on the press in Mexico will now be kept, the press rights group said.
Four United Nations and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, rapporteurs urged the Mexican government Monday to quickly enact the Law to Protect Defenders of Human Rights and Journalists.
"We need to break the cycle of impunity in Mexico, which is becoming an increasingly more violent place for journalists," U.N. rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion Frank La Rue said.
Mexico, where nearly 80 journalists have been murdered and several others have disappeared since 2000, is considered the world's second most dangerous country for members of the media.