Mexican journalist Rubén Pat was killed early Tuesday morning in Playa del Carmen by a gunman, according to a press release from the Municipality of Solidaridad.
Governor Carlos Joaquín of the state of Quintana Roo in which Cancún is located confirmed the death via a statement released over Twitter on Tuesday.
“We demand the immediate action of the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the acts and determine who was responsible,” the communique read in Spanish.
— Gobierno Quintana Roo (@GobQuintanaRoo) July 24, 2018
Pat was the owner of the Playa News weekly digital newspaper that covers the local area of Cancún. Pat is the second Playa News journalist to be murdered in a month after José Guadalupe Chan was killed in a central section of the Quintana Roo state on June 29. Pat was killed by a short-range gunshot around 6 a.m. by a bar in the popular tourist destination of Playa del Carmen, according to official reports.
In a statement of their own, local prosecutors said the killing was done as a means of “intimidation” to journalists and activists in the region.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Mexico ranks a lowly 147th (of 180 qualifying countries) on the Press Freedom Index.
“When journalists cover subjects linked to organized crime or political corruption (especially at the local level), they are the targets of intimidation and physical violence and are often executed in cold blood,” reads the nonprofit’s report on Mexico.
Pat is the seventh Mexican journalist to be killed in 2018, according to AFP, after many big-name crime journalists have been killed in the past few years due to the uncontrollable cartel violence.
On its Facebook page, the Playa News posted a memorial tribute to Pat from the United Nations’ Human Rights division, which can be read in full below. The post claims that Pat had been at conflict with local police, who kidnapped and tortured him in June. Playa News reporters had been investigating the connection between local officials and organized crime when they started receiving numerous threats, according to the post.