Up to eight journalists have been killed in Mexico this year, even though the dangers to the local media have been attracting international attention for years and prompted multiple promises from the government to act.
With hundreds of unsolved disappearances, rampant extortion, frequent kidnappings, and no fewer than 14 journalists killed in the past five years, a climate of fear governs Veracruz.
Juan Santos Carrera had only recently left his job as a Veracruz correspondent for the Televisa conglomerate, and was preparing to start his own local newspaper in the state known as the deadliest for reporters in Mexico.
It was the first sign that Javier Duarte might face judicial pressure to answer claims among Veracruz reporters that his administration is responsible for the killings of journalists.
Protests sparked by the killing of a news photographer in Mexico City have spread to London, Madrid, and several Mexican states, as journalists called for an end to violence and censorship against their work.
Assailants set three vehicles on fire outside the offices of a newspaper in the city of Poza Rica. The owner of the paper said he trusted Governor Javier Duarte to protect reporters in Mexico's most violent state for the press.
Nadia Vera, 32, was among five victims killed Friday in Mexico, including photographer Ruben Espinosa. She said in November that Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte would be "responsible" if she suffered any attack.
Three of the four women who were killed along with Ruben Espinosa were assaulted before being shot in the head. Loved ones identified them as friends ranging in ages from 18 to 32, and one 40-year-old house cleaner.