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Mexico newspaper shuts citing lack of security for journalists

The director of the Norte newspaper said Miroslava Breach’s slaying in March led him to reflect on the dangers of practicing journalism in the region, where “high risk is the main ingredient”.

world Updated: Apr 03, 2017 16:15 IST
Agence France-Presse
Mexico,journalist,drug cartels
The director of the Norte newspaper said deadly attacks against journalists have become evident in recent times.(Reuters)

Mexican newspaper Norte has announced it is closing its print edition due to a lack of security, after one of its reporters was murdered while investigating drug gangs.

The director of the Ciudad Juarez-based newspaper, Oscar Cantu, wrote in an article titled Adios, published on Sunday, that Miroslava Breach’s slaying last month led him to reflect on the dangers of practicing journalism in the region, where “high risk is the main ingredient”.

Breach, 54, who wrote for the newspapers Norte and La Jornada, was found dead in her vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds to the head on March 23 in the city of Chihuahua, capital of the state of the same name. Ciudad Juarez, located in Chihuahua state on the US border with Texas, was for years one of the bloodiest battlegrounds in Mexico as drug cartels fought over lucrative smuggling routes into the United States.

Breach reported on organised crime, drug-trafficking and corruption during a 20-year career as a journalist in northern Mexico. She had recently published a report about a conflict between leaders of the La Linea group, part of the powerful Juarez cartel.

“Deadly attacks as well as impunity in crimes against journalists have become evident, preventing us to freely continue to do our job,” Cantu wrote. “This newspaper that you have in your hands will be the last print edition that NORTE of Ciudad Juarez will publish.”

Cantu also blamed the shuttering on the “irresponsible non-compliance” of government offices that had failed to pay for ads in the paper.

“Everything in life has a beginning and an end, a price to pay. And if this is how life is, I’m not willing to have another journalist pay for it” with their life, Cantu wrote.

Breach is the third reporter murdered in one month in Mexico, the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists after Syria and Afghanistan according to the rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). A fourth journalist was fired upon in the eastern state of Veracruz just days after Breach’s murder, RSF said.

A record 11 journalists were murdered in Mexico in 2016, according to the rights group Article 19.

First Published: Apr 03, 2017 16:08 IST