Sun. May 29th, 2022

Attack comes a day after press groups held more than a dozen protests across Mexico to protest the killings.

Another journalist was attacked in Mexico, where three journalists have been killed so far this month.

Jose Ignacio Santiago said he narrowly escaped when a car carrying armed assailants tried to cut off his vehicle on a rural highway in the southern state of Oaxaca on Wednesday.

Santiago, the director of an online news website, said he was able to escape because he was accompanied by two bodyguards assigned to him under a government program to protect journalists.

The bodyguards were assigned to Santiago after he was abducted by a gang in 2017.

The attack comes one day after press groups held more than 12 protests across Mexico to protest the killings of three journalists since the beginning of the year.

Santiago says the bodyguard who was driving him was able to outwit the attackers, but the attackers opened fire when they saw the journalist’s car escape. Santiago was not injured.

He recorded videos in a remote Triqui native area, and this may have angered one of the groups fighting for control of the region.

“I do not think I have any problems in that area, but they may not have liked to see news media in that area,” Santiago said. “This is a Triqui area.”

About 10,000 Triquis live in remote, impoverished communities in the mountains of Oaxaca. Three Triqui groups were caught up in a decade-long armed struggle that resulted in dozens of murders.

In 2010, a Finnish human rights observer and a Mexican political activist were shot dead in the same area.

‘A damn panic button’

Attacks on journalists have increased sharply this month.

In the border town of Tijuana, two journalists were killed within a week. On January 17, crime photographer Margarito Martínez was shot dead outside his house. And on January 23, reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot dead in her car.

On January 10, the reporter Jose Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz.

Officials have acknowledged that more than 90 percent of murders of journalists and rights defenders remain unsolved, despite a government system designed to protect them.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists sets the percentage at 95 percent, said its Mexico representative Jan-Albert Hootsen.

Laura Sanchez, a Baja California journalist living in Mexico City, mocked the government program that is supposed to protect journalists. The government program often gives journalists a button that can sound an emergency alarm, but some say it is useless.

“What they give us is a damn panic button, and do you know what that button is? “This is the number of the municipal police supervisor who was corrupt and sold out,” Sanchez said.

Mexico remains the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. The government says 52 journalists or media workers have been killed in Mexico since December 2018.

It says seven of the 52 killed were enrolled in the protection program.

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