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Gunmen fire on newspaper office in northern Mexico

March 07, 2013|By Daniel Hernandez
  • A bullet hole is visible in a window of the offices of El Diario de Juarez newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
A bullet hole is visible in a window of the offices of El Diario de Juarez newspaper… (Jesus Alcazar / AFP/Getty…)

MEXICO CITY -- Gunmen shot at the offices of El Diario de Juarez newspaper early Wednesday in the latest attack against a news organization in northern Mexico and days after an editor was killed near the U.S. border.

No one was injured when gunmen driving past the paper's Ciudad Juarez offices fired seven rounds from a pistol just after 1 a.m., piercing windows, El Diario reported (link in Spanish). Fifteen minutes later, shots were fired at the city's Canal 44 news station.

Nine people were held for questioning late Wednesday in connection with the attack after local authorities and Chihuahua state Gov. Cesar Duarte pledged to find the assailants. It was unclear Thursday if any of those detained were suspects.

Rights groups denounced the shootings as an assault on reporters in Ciudad Juarez, but Duarte later downplayed the possibility that the newspaper might have been targeted for its news-gathering work.

"It's a violent act, but under all the circumstances we can't assume it comes with a larger message," Duarte was quoted as saying Wednesday.

The shootings follow a string of recent attacks against El Siglo de Torreon, a newspaper in the city of Torreon in neighboring Coahuila state.

And on Sunday, an independent online news editor was slain at a taco stand in the border town of Ojinaga in Chihuahua state, across the border from Presidio, Texas. Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez, 38, was founding editor of the online news outlet Ojinaga Noticias.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said his slaying was  the first of a journalist in the 3-month-old term of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Gonzalez was the 11th journalist killed in Chihuahua since 2000, said the free-speech advocacy group Articulo 19.

Across Mexico, dozens of reporters and photojournalists have been killed or "disappeared" since the escalation of the drug war in late 2006, with few convictions or even arrests. Most news outlets in areas ravaged by drug trafficking violence practice self-censorship, The Times has reported.

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