Journalist Justice in Tijuana: Murders of Margarito Martinez & Lourdes Maldonado Remain Unsolved

TIJUANA, Mexico – The city of Tijuana, Mexico, has seen a significant rise in violence against journalists, with the tragic deaths of photojournalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel and reporter Lourdes Maldonado López marking a disturbing peak in 2022. Both were brutally killed in separate attacks, leaving the local journalism community reeling from the loss.

As the second anniversary of their deaths approaches, the #YoSíSoyPeriodista (I am a journalist) collective delivered a strong message to Baja California’s authorities, emphasizing the need for meaningful justice. However, the local journalists are skeptical that substantial progress will be made in the ongoing investigations.

In the case of Margarito, only two of the three men arrested in connection with his murder have been processed and received a prison sentence. A key figure known as “Cabo 20” remains in federal custody but has not yet been linked to the crime. On the other hand, three men were convicted in connection with Lourdes’ murder, shedding light on the financial motivations behind her killing.

The grim reality of targeted attacks on journalists continues to plague Tijuana, with recent incidents involving the illegal detention of journalists by local authorities. Despite the risk to their lives and freedom, the local press remains determined to demand justice and promote freedom of the press.

In the face of ongoing threats and intimidation, it is crucial to stand in solidarity with the journalists in Tijuana as they fight for justice and better working conditions. The murders of Margarito and Lourdes must not be in vain, and the community’s united voice serves as a powerful reminder of the essential role journalism plays in upholding democracy.