A journalist was killed Saturday in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas and authorities said they were investigating to see if his death was related to his work. Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez was slain in the city of Nuevo Laredo across from Texas while driving in a car with relatives who were unhurt in the attack, state security spokesman Luis Alberto Rodriguez told The Associated Press. Rodriguez said the body had stab wounds and there may have been gunshots.
In the past, the 77-year-old Dominguez had worked for different print media outlets, including the Diario de Nuevo Laredo newspaper, but he was currently an independent journalist who wrote opinion columns for news websites, Rodriguez, and other journalists said. If it is confirmed that Dominguez was murdered for his work, he would be the first journalist slain for his profession in the new year after a deadly 2017 that saw at least 10 killed in what international press groups called a crisis for freedom of expression in Mexico. Earlier in January, a news editor was killed in Mexico City in a robbery apparently unrelated to his profession.
Rodriguez said preliminary investigations indicated that Dominguez had not reported receiving any threats or requested security. Tamaulipas’ government released a statement saying it “will act firmly against any attack on freedom of expression and the labor of communicators.”
Tamaulipas has been wracked by drug cartel violence and the state is one where organized crime has often been able to intimidate media outlets into silence through violence and threats. Both the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concern about the impunity surrounding the killings of journalists in Mexico. On January 7, in Guerrero state in southern Mexico, several journalists reported being roughed up. Bernandino Hernandez, who has worked with the AP, said state police beat, kicked and dragged the journalists.