Two were also injured in an attack at a bar in Veracruz. In a separate incident, a photojournalist was beaten by Governor Duarte’s bodyguards.
Another Veracruzan journalist has been killed and two others injured Thursday when heavily armed men stormed a bar killing six persons in Orizaba, a few miles from the state's capital Xalapa, local news outlets reported.
This brings the death toll in the southeastern state of Veracruz to 17 journalists killed in 15 years, most of which have been murdered during the government of Javier Duarte. And it makes the state the most dangerous in Mexico to be a journalists, while making Mexico the second most dangerous countries to be a journalist with 104 murdered since 2000.
Juan Heriberto Santos, former television reporter and a freelance journalist, was killed along with five other persons, the state's Attorney General's office said.
According to officials, there are two versions going around regarding the massacre. The first one says five heavily armed men entered the bar and went directly to where their victims were and opened fire on them.
This version suggests the journalist was at the same table with the other five fatal victims as well as with the two injured journalists.
The second version states that a brawl broke out between criminals at the bar and a group of police and that in the crossfire, the journalist was killed and his colleagues injured.
The Attorney General's office (FEG) identified the other two journalists as Enrique Rivas and Guillermo Ramos and said they were under police protection.
The other victims of the attack are said to be known criminals, including Jose Marquez Balderas, aka El Chichi, who is allegedly the local head of the Los Zetas drug cartel.
Police also said that officers came across the armed gunmen fleeing the bar. They confronted the group was unable to detain them, which is something all too common in Mexico due to the very narrow ties between organized crime and security forces. The killers are still at large.
Governor's Bodyguards Beat Up Journalist
The Veracruzan Governor Javier Duarte is already in the spotlight because his administration has been the deadliest for journalist across the country. Also, he has been linked to the recent killing of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa and activist Nadia Vera in Mexico City. In fact, he was recently questioned in connection with the deaths, but no details were provided to the press.
Now, Duarte’s bodyguards beat up a photojournalist Wednesday night.
Due to concerns for his safety, the name of the journalist has not been provided, but he works for AVCNoticias, a media organization Espinosa worked for in the past.
The journalist was attempting to take the governor's picture at a theater where a ruling PRI party event was to take place.
According to witnesses, the journalist was snatched by Duarte's security detail. They pulled and pushed him, as he attempted to take photo. They then asked him to identify himself, and immediately after saying he was from AVCNoticias, one bodyguard grabbed him by the neck and threw him onto the ground.
“I don't know if I was injured in the aggression against me. But my back does hurt. I was slammed onto the ground really hard. Many saw how I was attacked, but nobody did anything about it,” the unidentified journalist said.
Also Thursday, various Veracruzan journalists denounced that since Espinosa's death, they been harassment and intimidation against them has increased notably.