VERACRUZ     -    An investigation has been launched into the death of a reporter in the Mexican state of Veracruz after he became the third journalist to be murdered in a week. As the country grapples with a record murder rate, Mexican officials in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz where Jorge Ruiz Vazquez worked for the Grafico de Xalapa newspaper in Veracruz’s capital, said the investigation would examine why procedures to protect him failed. “The prosecutor will investigate why protection measures granted to the victim and his family, which were active, were not enforced,” the state’s prosecutor said.

Ruiz was shot dead just days before he was scheduled to testify before state authorities about previous death threats made against him. He alleged that Actopan Mayor Paulino Domínguez Sánchez was behind the threats.

A reporter in Guerrero state who also served as a municipal official was shot and killed on Friday, while earlier last week, a reporter who covered the police in the same state was found dead in the trunk of a vehicle with signs he had been shot and tortured.

Ruiz’s death brings the murder toll of Mexican journalists this year to 10, according to the Commission to Protect Journalists (CEAPP).

Murders in Mexico jumped in the first half of the year to the highest on record, according to official data. The spiralling violence underscores the challenges President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has faced since taking office in December with a vow to reduce violence in the country ravaged by notorious drug cartels.

Ruiz had reported death threats in October and November of 2018, said Ana Laura Perez, president of Veracruz’s CEAPP, in an interview with Veracruz news outlet XEU Noticias.

She added that Ruiz had been shot and killed at his home in Actopan, south of the state capital, Xalapa.

Veracruz’s governor, Cuitlahuac Garcia, said on Friday evening that efforts had already begun to find the people responsible for Ruiz’s death.

“We condemn the cowardly murder of a reporter from a local outlet, Jorge Ruiz,” he said on Twitter. “His killing will not go unpunished.”