Mexican journalist killed in latest violent attack on media

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Police officers guard the perimeter of a scene where Heber Lopez, an independent journalist who ran NoticiasWeb, was shot and killed at his recording studio, in Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca state, Mexico February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

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MEXICO CITY, Feb 10 (Reuters) - A Mexican journalist was shot and killed in the southern state of Oaxaca on Thursday, police said, the latest in a string of journalist deaths that have prompted U.S. lawmakers to pressure Mexico to step up protections.

Heber Lopez, an independent journalist who ran NoticiasWeb, was shot and killed, police officials told Mexican news outlet Milenio. Lopez was attacked at his recording studio, outlet RCP Noticias said on social media.

The attorney general for Oaxaca said two people were arrested in relation with the crime, though the investigation was still ongoing.

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Lopez, who worked in the port city of Salina Cruz, had received death threats in 2019, according to some local media reports.

The journalist regularly wrote about politics and corruption in local government, Rodolfo Canseco, the director of RCP Noticias, told Reuters.

His death is the latest in a spate of attacks against journalists in Mexico in recent weeks. Three journalists and one media worker were killed in the month of January alone, and a former journalist was killed on Saturday evening. read more

United States Senators Tim Kaine and Marco Rubio urged Mexico on Tuesday to do more to protect journalists, criticizing Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for lashing out against his critics in the media.

According to human rights organization Article 19, around 145 journalists were killed in Mexico from 2000 to 2021, making Mexico one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists.

Article 19 called on Mexico's federal program to protect journalists to "contact (Lopez's) family members, colleagues and friends as soon as possible, in order to provide the necessary protection measures," the organization wrote on Twitter.

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Reporting by Kylie Madry and Noe Torres; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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