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Mexican Journalist Shot to Death in Gulf Coast State

Relatives, friends and journalists stand beside the coffin of slain Mexican radio journalist Jacinto Romero Flores, during a Mass in Ixtaczoquitlan, Veracruz state, Mexico, Aug. 19, 2021.

A radio journalist was shot and killed in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz Thursday, according to his station and state authorities.

Jacinto Romero Flores was gunned down in the community of Potrerillo, in the township of Ixtaczoquitlan, according to Hugo Gutierrez Maldonado, the head of Veracruz state security agency, via Twitter. Gutierrez said state police were carrying out an operation in the area following the killing.

Romero worked for Ori Stereo 99.3 FM. The station expressed its sadness for his death. “The media are not the cause nor the effect of violence in the country, but we do suffer the consequences for carrying out journalism and communication,” it said in a statement.

The State Commission for Attention to and Protection of Journalists condemned the killing and called on the state prosecutor's office to open a full investigation, including into what role if any Romero's journalism played in his murder.

Press freedom organization Article 19 said Romero had received threats. The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said via Twitter that it had “learned of and strongly condemns the murder of reporter Jacinto Romero in the state of Veracruz and urges authorities to undertake a swift, transparent and exhaustive investigation into the killing.”

Veracruz has for years been one of Mexico's most deadly states for reporters. Multiple organized crime groups operate within the state and have infiltrated local and state government.

Journalists marched late Thursday in the port city of Veracruz to protest Romero's killing.

Press groups say nine journalists were killed in Mexico in 2020, making it the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones. Romero is at least the fifth journalist killed in Mexico this year.

Earlier this month, the Jalisco New Generation cartel publicly threatened to kill a prominent television news anchor.