Police in Mexico have extended protection to a journalist whose 12-year-old son was fatally shot last week in an attack on the family's home.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders issued a statement earlier this week calling on Mexican authorities to protect Indalecio Benitez, director of La Calentana Mexiquense, a community radio station in the central state of Mexico.

State police and prosecutors began an investigation of the attack that claimed the life of 12-year-old Juan Diego Benitez and on Tuesday sent two patrol cars to the family's residence in Luvianos, one of the broadcaster's colleagues, Maricarmen Aguilar, told Efe.

She said Indalecio Benitez and another of his sons were summoned by the state Attorney General's Office to give statements, but they did not do so due to a lack of security.

In Luvianos and the surrounding area a climate of terror prevails given the dispute over control of the area by organized criminal groups, Aguilar said.

"There is a lot of fear and nobody feels safe," she said, adding that the violence has been increasing for at least a decade but it has become more intense over the past five years.

Luvianos lies in the Tierra Caliente, a region that straddles the states of Mexico, Guerrero and Michoacan.

Aguilar said that Benitez had headed up the defense of human rights in the zone but he had always avoided confronting the organized criminal groups.

Those groups "are the ones who rule and the entire public is very clear about that," Aguilar said, noting that Luvianos has been without any law enforcement personnel since the municipal police chief was gunned down in April. EFE