Heber Lopez's death is the latest in a spate of attacks against journalists in Mexico, sparking international condemnation and calls for the protection of media workers.

Lopez was attacked at his recording studio in the port city of Salina Cruz, outlet RCP Noticias said on social media.
Lopez was attacked at his recording studio in the port city of Salina Cruz, outlet RCP Noticias said on social media. (Reuters)

A journalist has been shot dead in the southern state of Oaxaca, the latest in a string of murders that have prompted US lawmakers to pressure Mexico to step up protections.

Heber Lopez, an independent journalist who ran NoticiasWeb, was shot and killed on Thursday, police officials told Mexican news outlet Milenio. 

Lopez was attacked at his recording studio in the port city of Salina Cruz, outlet RCP Noticias said on social media.

Oaxaca State Prosecutor Arturo Peimbert Calvo told Milenio TV that two suspects in the killing were in custody, though the investigation was still ongoing.

Calvo said the suspects had tried to flee the scene of the crime and their guns were recovered.

Lopez 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.

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

READ MORE: Mexicans protest killings of journalists

Latest murder

Lopez’s murder follows those of four journalists in January.

On January 31, Roberto Toledo, a camera operator and video editor for the online site Monitor Michoacan was shot by assailants as he prepared for an interview in Zitacuaro, Michoacan.

In the border city of Tijuana, on January 17, crime photographer Margarito Martinez was gunned down outside his home. 

On January 23, reporter Lourdes Maldonado Lopez was found shot to death inside her car also in Tijuana.

Reporter Jose Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz in an attack on January 10.

According to human rights organisation 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 and 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.

READ MORE: 45 reporters and media workers killed 'at work' in 2021

Source: TRTWorld and agencies