Four Mexican journalists murdered in last week

The Guardian reports: Two press photographers have been found dead in a canal in the Mexican port city of Veracruz alongside a former cameraman and a fourth body, less than a week after another journalist based in the city was killed in her home.

The state attorney general’s office issued an initial statement identifying photographers Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge as among the victims. Both were reportedly working for a local website called Veracruz News and had been missing since the day before.

State authorities later said Esteban Rodríguez, a former cameraman, was also among the dead as well as a woman named as Irasema Becerra, said to be Luna’s girlfriend.

It followed the discovery of Regina Martinez, the Veracruz correspondent of the weekly national news magazine Proceso strangled to death in her home last weekend.

The latest murders underline Veracruz’s current status as the most extreme focal point for attacks against journalists which have become commonplace in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the drug cartels in December 2006 and extreme violence exploded across the country.

Of the nine Mexican journalists killed last year probably because of their work, four were from Veracruz.

Ricardo Gonzalez, of the press freedom activist group Article 19, said journalists in Veracruz are being targeted because of their position “as witnesses to the decomposition of the state.”

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