Pepe Martinez, veteran Spanish journalist who understood Gibraltar, dies aged 83
José Francisco Pérez Martínez, a veteran Spanish journalist who wrote about Gibraltar for many decades, died on Wednesday aged 83.
Mr Martinez, whose by-line was Pepe Martinez, was well-known and highly regarded in Gibraltar, which he covered for the Campo de Gibraltar newspaper Diario Area, among other publications, for over 30 years.
Mr Martinez became a journalist after a career in the Spanish military, where he served in the Artillery Regiment including as commanding officer of one of the batteries overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar.
He was known and respected for his objective and nuanced reporting on all aspects of Gibraltar including its relations with Spain, and over the years developed a deep understanding of the Gibraltarian community.
He reflected on this in December 2018, when he was honoured for his work by the Campo press association.
"Gibraltarians have always gone out of their way to help me, and after so many years there is one thing I am sure of: they are not anti-Spanish, just as they are not anti-British,” he said.
“They consider themselves, above all, Gibraltarians, and they want to defend and preserve the status they have, as we all would in their place.”
An old school reporter, Mr Martinez was generous with colleagues, sharing his experience, expertise and contacts to help those tasked with covering Gibraltar.
Over the course of his journalistic career, he interviewed and built relationships with five Chief Ministers, successive government ministers and Opposition MPs, as well as people from all walks of life across the wider community.
Mr Martinez is survived by his daughters, Susana and Marie Carmen, and grandchildren Marie Carmen and Angel.
Govt condolences on passing of Spanish journalist Pepe Martinez
The Gibraltar Government has said it is very saddened to hear of the passing of veteran Campo Area journalist Pepe Martinez.
“Pepe first started covering the Gibraltar story in the mid-eighties for Area newspaper. He lived in Algeciras and travelled daily to the Rock to attend press conferences and to countless local events on a regular basis,” said a statement from No6 Convent Place.
“Pepe was a well-mannered amiable gentleman who made many friends across the political world as well as in the business, cultural and sporting areas.”
“He handled the Gibraltar story in a fair manner and would get very upset when the Spanish media gave the Rock unfair treatment. Pepe was considered a good friend of Gibraltar and his passing will sorely have missed by his colleagues and those he dealt with.”
“HMGOG extends its sincere condolences to his immediate family and friends.”
“May he Rest in Peace."
UPDATE: This post was updated at 11.30am on Thursday to include condolences from the Gibraltar Government.