Journalist found dead in northwest Mexico

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, with at least 17 media workers killed in 2022.

A crime reporter has been found dead in northwestern Mexico, the latest suspected murder in what is already one of the deadliest years ever for the country’s press.

Juan Arjon Lopez, an independent journalist who ran a news page on Facebook, went missing on August 9, according to the state attorney general.

A body with tattoos matching those of Arjon was recovered on Tuesday in San Luis Rio Colorado, the town where he disappeared.

Arjon’s body was found showing “signs of violence,” Sonora Attorney General Claudia Indira told a press conference.

The 62-year-old was identified from his fingerprints, a source at the attorney general’s office told the AFP news agency.

An autopsy found that the journalist was killed by a blow to the head, the attorney general’s office said in a statement, and added that it was not ruling out any line of investigation.

Arjon had alternated between working as a reporter and at a local restaurant, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

“He had a webpage [where] he covered security topics, he was known and recognised in San Luis,” Balbina Flores of RSF told the Reuters news agency.

Human rights organisation Article 19, which tracks murders of journalists, is looking into the case, a press representative said.

San Luis is across the border from the US state of Arizona, and has long been known for medical and dentistry centres catering to Americans. But the area has been hit by drug cartel violence in recent years.

Mexico is one of the riskiest countries in the world for journalists, according to Article 19, which says at least 34 media workers have been killed in relation to their work since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December 2018. At least 17 journalists have been killed in 2022.

Last week, four employees of a radio station in the border town Ciudad Juarez were killed in what officials called gang-related violence. The week before that, journalist Ernesto Mendez was killed in the central state of Guanajuato in a bar he owned.

Arjon’s most recent news reports on his Facebook page were about a drug seizure and the recovery of several items of stolen goods.

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