MEXICO CITY — A Mexican diocese has condemned the murder of a journalist in Veracruz state, saying the crime threatens freedom of expression.

Radio journalist Jacinto Romero Flores was shot dead Aug. 19 in the town of Ixtaczoquitlán, some 165 miles southeast of Mexico City. Romero covered crime and politics, according to media reports, and had been threatened for his work.

“The Diocese of Orizaba regrets the murder today of another journalist in our region … Jacinto Romero Flores. His death adds to the other murdered journalists in our state, one of the most dangerous for practicing this profession,” the diocese said in an Aug. 19 statement signed by its spokesman, Father Helkyn Enriquez Báez.

“His death in this most violent way threatens the right to freedom of expression because society is deprived of (his) communication,” Father Alfredo Mazahua said Aug. 21 at Romero’s funeral Mass, according to local media. “Taking his life affects the entire population and directly affects his family. I urge reflection to realize these values.”

Romero was the fifth journalist killed in Mexico this year. He received multiple threats for his reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The eastern state of Veracruz has been a cemetery for journalists over the past 12 years, the product of organized crime and corruption coming together. Crimes committed against the media almost always go unpunished.

“Attacking journalists in Mexico continues, because hardly anyone ever pays a price for doing it,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Journalists like Jacinto Romero have to work in extremely difficult circumstances. They make very little money, have to deal with threats from all sides and enjoy very little in terms of protection,” Hootsen said.