A Mexican journalist was shot to death on Wednesday as he was leaving his home. Antonio de la Cruz, 47, a long-time reporter for local daily Expreso was shot at his doorstep in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas along with his 23-year-old daughter who was seriously injured in the attack. The incident brings the number of slayed journalists in Mexico to 12 this year as it ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.

According to Al Jazeera, the local newspaper covers stories happening around the city including security. Generally, De la Cruz wrote articles involving shortages in water supply, rural concerns, and social topics. He also published reports about the Movimiento Ciudadano political party highlighting about its deputy, Gustavo Cardenas. De la Cruz’s death makes 2022 the deadliest year on record for the Mexican press.

Over the years, Expreso is said to have been a target by the cartels. In fact, 2012 was one of the worst years for the paper when a car bomb exploded in front of its office building. Another gruesome incident took place in 2018 with the discovery of a  human head stuffed inside a cooler that was left at their office with a message not to write reports on the ongoing violence in Tamaulipas.

It is not clear who was behind the recent shooting but the city of Tamaulipas, which sits right on the U.S. border, is riddled with violence linked to drug cartels and organized crime. The city governor, Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca assured that De la Cruz’s death will be thoroughly investigated and will not go unpunished. A federal investigation has been launched with a special unit tasked to probe crimes against the freedom of expression. Miguel Domínguez, director of Expreso told reporters in a television interview that De la Cruz never expressed any such concern for his safety.

In 2021, seven Mexican journalists were killed with the press suffering an 85% spike in attacks since Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in 2018. Each Mexican state has had its fair share of killings for the first time last year. Obrador condemned the hostility towards the press despite his repeated attacks on them during his term.

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