07/12/12 – As TBI reported earlier this week, on July 10, the Mexican newspaper El Norte suffered two attacks on its offices in Torremolinos, Monterrey, and Guadalupe, Nuevo León. No one was injured in either attack, but significant property damage was caused by grenades and heavy caliber bullets. Yesterday, one of the targeted divisions, El Mañana, publicly announced it will no longer cover drug-violence and cartel-related crime. In doing so, the paper joins a rising number of media sources in Northern Mexico who have bowed to intimidation, raising serious concerns about the freedom of the press.
The Diario de Yucatán noted that El Mañana’s announcement is unusual, however, because of its public nature; most of the other newspapers and journalists who have adopted similar policies have done so quietly. In a press release, the newspaper explained, “The Editorial and Administration Board of this entity has arrived at this unfortunate decision, forced by the circumstances we are all aware of, and because of the lack of conditions protecting the freedom of press.” While there has been no public acknowledgement of responsibility for Monday’s strike against El Norte, Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are known to be highly active in Nuevo León. Los Zetas also maintain a strong presence in Monterrey.
The international media community responded strongly following the attacks, expressing solidarity with El Norte and its subsidiaries and calling for the Mexican government to utilize the new constitutional amendment that allows federal charges to be brought against those who attack journalists or media outlets. On July 11, the Inter-American Society of Press (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, SIP) and other media observers accused the Mexican government of succumbing to cartel pressure and failing to adequately protect vulnerable journalists.