Journalist killed in Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican journalist under a federal protection program was found shot to death Thursday in the resort town of Playa del Carmen, authorities said.

Quintana Roo state prosecutors said Francisco Romero's body was found on a sidewalk in a neighborhood not frequented by tourists.

They said Romero had filed a police report April 12 stating he had received threats, though the source of those threats was not specified.

Romero worked for news pages on Facebook and the web that have apparently been closed for some time, reportedly including one for which two other slain Playa del Carmen journalists had worked.

In July 2018, Ruben Pat Cahuich, the director of the online news site Playa News Aqui y Ahora, was killed. In June, police reporter Jose Guadalupe Chan Dzib from the same outlet was killed.

Reporters without Borders, the journalist advocacy group, said in a statement that Romero had received threats and had been part of Mexico's journalist protection program since the killing of his colleagues last year. He had been given a "panic button" and a protection team made up of four police officers.

But Wednesday night he let the police go to rest. At 5 a.m. he received a phone call telling him to cover an incident at a bar and an hour later he was found dead outside it, according to the statement.

Emmanuel Colombié, director of the group's Latin America office, said "The government must take bold decisions and deeply reform the national protection mechanism, whose efficiency has been constantly questioned."

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Romero was the sixth journalist killed since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office Dec. 1.

Less than two weeks ago, Telésforo Santiago Enríquez, a teacher, indigenous rights advocate and founder of a community radio station in Oaxaca, was killed.

Playa del Carmen has suffered increasing violence in recent years. In January, seven men were killed in a shooting attack at a bar in Playa del Carmen, and another shooting on Monday killed one person and wounded 11 at another bar in Playa.

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