Journalist gunned down in Mexican resort town

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A journalist was fatally shot in the Mexican beach resort town of Playa del Carmen, state prosecutors said on Tuesday, less than a month after he complained of being beaten and threatened by local police.

Ruben Pat is seen in this photo uploaded to Facebook on February 15, 2015. Ruben Pat/via REUTERS

Gunmen opened fire on Ruben Pat, 42, founder of website Playa News, in the early hours of Tuesday outside a bar near the beach, prosecutors from the state of Quintana Roo said in a statement. The bar was not within any of the area’s many resorts.

Pat’s killing was the latest in a growing list of fatalities in a country that has become notorious for violent attacks on media workers.

Less than a month ago, another journalist at Playa News was shot to death in another part of the state.

Pat covered security matters and had been receiving threats for the past six months, according to one of his colleagues, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of facing reprisals.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in June that Pat had told them that month he was assaulted by municipal police officers.

“They told me to stop publishing articles about a local police chief, and that I knew what would be coming to me if I didn’t,” Pat said, according to the CPJ.

Police in the municipality of Solidaridad, which includes Playa del Carmen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Quintana Roo, which is home to the resort city of Cancun, was long one of Mexico’s safest states, but security has deteriorated as gangs fight to control lucrative drug markets.

At least seven other journalists have died violently in Mexico this year, according to data supplied by various non-governmental organizations.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Peter Cooney