Archbishop expresses solidarity with a mass with the journalists murdered in Tijuana

Hundreds of parishioners filled the Tijuana cathedral this Sunday to listen to a mass that Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón called to show solidarity with the murdered journalists.

“It is a small gesture from the archdiocese, from the Tijuana church with all the reporters,” said the archbishop in a conversation with some journalists.

The parishioners arranged a small altar to the left of the cathedral. They placed the photos of Lourdes “Luby” Maldonado López and Margarito “4-4” Martínez, and brought her microphone and a camera to her, among flower arrangements.

In the parabolic way in which the archbishop expresses himself, he called on journalists “not to give in”, “to tell the truth”, and emphasized that the church, “the archdiocese of Tijuana stands in solidarity with this cause”.

He asked journalists “to have the freedom to communicate the truth to the people, to society.”

“Live your professionalism, without being afraid of anyone, following the voice of your conscience, appreciating this work that is so difficult but so beautiful” that journalism is,” said the Catholic leader south of the California border.

Then the archbishop spoke a little more friendly with the journalists and said that the murdered colleagues “are aware that they are not dead, that is very important, look how today they are more alive than ever, they have never been talked about so much, they have never been I had had presents like now”.

“That way they will continue to live for their family, for the social community and especially for those who are dedicated to journalism,” said Moreno.

Moments later, at the beginning of the Sunday mass in the cathedral, the priest said that the mass was “in memory of all the people who have been murdered in Tijuana lately, mothers. Women, children, men, but especially in memory of our journalist brothers Lourdes Maldonado and Margarito Martínez”.

Meanwhile, the authorities assure that they have made progress in the investigations into the two murders of journalists on January 13 and 23.

“It is expected that in a very short time the first arrest warrants can be generated” in relation to the two homicides, declared the Undersecretary of Federal Public Security, Ricardo García Berdejo.

“We can tell you that in both cases there are very important advances, both in the modus operandi, both in the mechanics of the facts, and evidence has been recovered and all the necessary technical and legal inquiries have been made to be able to prosecute these cases,” the federal official explained.

But locally, the municipal police of Tijuana still do not clarify what happened.

Luby Maldonado was part of the “protection mechanism”, an official security protocol for journalists who have been threatened.

Unlike other journalists, who have full-time security and even an armed driver, Maldonado chose to have a patrol with an agent remain outside his house from dusk to dawn.

However, that patrol had withdrawn without giving reason on the night of January 23, when someone shot him from inside a taxi at close range.

Regarding the murder of Margarito Martínez, the Tijuana police, the Municipal Public Security Secretariat, released in just a moment, a statement in which they said that the photojournalist was murdered, “apparently due to a confrontation between neighbors.”

That version also aroused suspicion because the comment was reported without basis and, contrary to police custom, preempted any investigation to present an alleged motive.

Since those events, the police continue to fail to provide interviews to reporters who request them and without their senior officers appearing in public places where journalists might question them.

The archbishop said this Sunday that it is the responsibility of the authorities to provide peace to the community, but in his comments he preferred to talk about the experiences of reporters who have been killed.

“All of us are called to follow Jesus, but not only him, but through him to serve those around us, and the practice of journalism is a wonderful opportunity to serve his people; I think it is a privileged vocation in that sense,” Archbishop Moreno said.

At the end of the mass, however, a new homicide was learned, not of a journalist, but of the son of a journalist in Mexicali, who was gunned down.

The young man killed was Marco Ernesto Islas, son of journalist Marco Antonio Islas Parra.

In an environment in which the deaths of journalists continue in Mexico, some media came forward to publish that another reporter had been killed.

And it is that Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to practice journalism, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

That organization ranked Mexico as the most dangerous country in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and in 2022 the death rate of reporters in Mexico is even worse, compared to previous years at this time.

RSF says that more journalists are killed in Mexico than even in countries where wars are currently raging.