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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Armed group sets fire to newspaper building in Veracruz, Mexico




A group of 15 armed, masked men took over two vans, threatened the security guard and proceeded to douse a newspaper building with gasoline before setting it on fire in the city of Cordoba, Veracruz, on the eastern coast of Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

At the time of the fire, 20 employees were inside the newsroom but none were injured, according to the website Animal Político.

The newspaper El Buen Tono, which had only been in circulation for one month, temporarily ceased publishing due to damages sustained to their computer system, editing and administrative departments, as the newspaper Hoy de Veracruz reported.

The newspaper is owned by José Abella García, ex-candidate for mayor of Cordoba and businessman whoblamed the newspaper attack on his ex-opponent, Mayor Francisco Portilla Bonilla, as well as on municipal transportation officials, the website Contracorriente reports.

The newspaper had published articles critical of the municipal government. “The government of Veracruz was accustomed to being applauded for everything and they didn’t like hearing the truth,” Abella said in a radio interview.

However, the mayor distanced himself from the event. “We also want to get to the bottom of this…we lament what happened, whoever is responsible,” Portilla told Contracorriente.

"The attacks against media outlets represent one of the new tactics of organized crime," the Committee to Protect Journalists said. This year, an armed group threw a grenade into a newspaper in Saltillo and another group caused damages to two media offices in Torreón, both cities in northern Mexico.

Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists on the American continents, as demonstrated by this map showing attacks against the press in the country.



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