If journalists can't report the news without a high risk of torture and death, it is NOT a free press. A truly free press implies that journalists are free to report the news and that the journalists remain free (out of prison) and alive after reporting. In Mexico, although a free press exists in theory (ie it is not against the law to report the news), the government is either unwilling or unable to ensure the existence of a free press.
There is the law and there is reality. In Mexico, as in many other countries, the law and reality are not the same.
You are painting all of Mexico with too broad a brush.
Journalists ARE reporting the news and being killed in certain areas, no doubt. But there are many cities and areas where there isn't any intimidation of reporters...such as Queretaro, SMA, Cuernavaca to name a few. Even the Guadalajara newspapers, which is very close to this local violence has done a good job of reporting the events and keeping the public informed.
Newspapers and journalists in Mexico pride themselves on being free, independent, and true crusaders going back to the Revolution and before.
To say there isn't a "free press", is an insult to these courageous, professional, and above reproach people of the printed medium.
I guess in your definition of a "free" country, there wouldn't be any need for a police force.