Journalist Killed in Guerrero, 15th in Mexico in 2022

Flowers and a photograph of Guerrero journalist Fredid Román, at his wake in Acapulco.

His murder came seven weeks after his son, Vladimir Román, was gunned down in the same city of Chilpancingo.

By Mexico News Daily

HAVANA TIMES – Fredid Román, a columnist and former newspaper director who had an online news program called “The Reality of Guerrero,” was shot dead in Chilpancingo, the state capital. His murder came seven weeks after his son, Vladimir Román, was gunned down in the same city.

According to a report by the news magazine Proceso, one lead under consideration by the Guerrero Attorney General’s Office (FGE) is that Fredid Román’s murder is related to a conflict between two criminal groups – Los Tlacos and Los Ardillos – over the production and sale of chicken in Chilpancingo.

The July 1 murder of Vladimir Román, who was a chicken distributor, came just weeks after eight people with connections to the poultry industry were killed in the state capital.

Police stand guard at the site of Fredid Román’s murder in Chilpancingo.

Proceso said it had access to official reports that indicated that it’s possible that the murders of both Fredid Román and his son were ordered by Jose David Barrientos Salazar, the leader of a citizens’ security force believed to be the armed wing of Los Ardillos.

Ramón Celaya Gamboa, a senior official with the FGE, said Tuesday that authorities were committed to holding those responsible for the latest murder to account. “The commitment of the Attorney General’s Office is to ensure that this crime doesn’t go unpunished,” he said.

“… The criminals that operate in the El Ocotito valley [in the municipality of Chilpancingo] should know that we have you perfectly identified. We know that there are criminal groups and that there are different interests.  … We’re facing up to them and you won’t intimidate us,” Celaya said.

The prosecutor also said that “all possible theories have to be worked on” to determine the motive for the journalist’s murder. “We still have to rule out that it wasn’t related to his work,” Celaya said.

Román’s murder came just days after press freedom advocacy organization Article 19 published a new report on violence against the press in Mexico.

The report, titled Impunity and Denial in the face of Extreme Violence against the Press Persists, said that there were 331 verbal, online and physical attacks against journalists and the media in the first six months of 2022. Article 19 highlighted that the figure is 51.8% higher than in the first half of 2016, when former president Enrique Peña Nieto was in his fourth year in office, as President López Obrador is now.

The report noted that the five most common kinds of aggression were intimidation and harassment, with 101 cases; threats, with 66 cases; illegitimate use of public power, with 45 cases; physical attacks, with 29 cases; and the blocking or alteration of content, with 28 cases.

Just under one-third of the attacks – 105 of 331 – occurred online. Twelve journalists were murdered in Mexico between January and June, Article 19 said, adding that there was evidence that nine of those were killed due to their journalistic work.

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