Mexico – Fifth journalist dies on the line of duty since the beginning of this year as the country witnesses growing unrest against journalists and news bodies.

Heber Lopez, the latest victim, was the director of the online news website Noticias Web. He was shot fatally in his office.

According to the authorities, Heber Lopez was shot in the office located in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

 Jan-Albert Hootsen is the representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mexico stated that the murder of Heber Lopez marks “the deadliest for the Mexican press in over a decade.”

“Five journalists were murdered, two survived an attack, a number of others reported death threats,” he stated on Twitter.

According to the witnesses, two men approached the office of Heber Lopez in a vehicle on Thursday. One of them went into the office and shot Heber and left the premises soon after.

Rodolfo Canseco Gutierrez, the director of news website RCP Noticias and a friend of the slain journalist had been together for years covering police and crime-related news. He stated that Lopez did not receive any threats and he doubts that the murder is related to his work.

Mexico is proving to be deadly for journalists as within 6 weeks of the year 2022, six journalists have lost their lives. Only 7 journalists were reported dead in the whole of 2021.

Mexico is being ranked as one of the deadliest countries in the world for crime reporters and journalists in particular. According to the human rights organization Article 19, 145 journalists were murdered in the country from 2000 to 2021.

Jose Gamboa Arenas, another high-profile journalist in Mexico who was the director of news website Info Regio in Veracruz died after being stabbed fatally. Margarito Martinez, a renowned news photographer was murdered in the city of Tijuana. Just weeks later, Lourdes Maldonado Lopez was fatally killed in the same city.

The human rights organization Article 19 has called out the federal protection program of Mexico to “contact [Lopez’s] family members, colleagues, and friends as soon as possible, in order to provide the necessary protection measures.”

American senators Marco Rubio and Tim Kaine have urged the Mexican government to come forward and protect their journalists. The senators also criticized president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for not doing much in protecting the media and people connected with the media.