Margarito Martínez Esquivel and José Luis Gamboa are the latest casualties in the world’s most dangerous country for reporters outside war zones

Mexico’s embattled press corps has suffered a shattering start to the new year with the murders of two journalists who had dared chronicle their country’s slide into drug- and corruption-fuelled violence, reports the Guardian.

Margarito Martínez Esquivel, a crime reporter and photographer who often collaborated with members of the foreign media, was shot dead outside his home in the northern city of Tijuana on Monday lunchtime.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything for him,” his distraught wife, Elena Martínez, told the San Diego Union-Tribune – one of numerous international outlets the journalist had worked with, including the BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Martínez’s death came a week after another journalist, José Luis Gamboa, was fatally stabbed in the eastern state of Veracruz, another of Mexico’s most violent regions.

Two days earlier Gamboa, the director of a news website called Inforegioused Twitter to call for the appointment of an anti-drug tsar who might slow the decades-long escalation in bloodshed. Last year he lamented how parts of the government, instead of fighting drug trafficking, had been sucked into “a great criminal association” with the cartels. “The Mexican population still hasn’t grasped how serious this is,” Gamboa tweeted.

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