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Two journalists killed; radio station raided

Two Mexican journalists were murdered last week, with motives still unknown, report the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

On 14 July, Ernesto Montañez Valdivia, the editor of "Enfoque del Sol de Chihuahua" was shot dead while driving, report WiPC, RSF, and IAPA. Valdivia's teenage son was also in the vehicle and was taken to the hospital with a critical wound to his neck. Again, the motive is unclear, but the rights organisations report there was a sticker with the newspaper's name on Valdivia's car.

Valdivia was killed in Ciudad Juárez, in the northern Chihuahua state, a region affected by inter-gang battles and shoot-outs between police and drug traffickers, according to WiPC.

Two days earlier, Martin Javier Miranda Avilés, a reporter on the daily Panorama and correspondent for news agency Quadratin, was found stabbed to death at his home in Zitacuaro. In light of physical attacks against news vendors selling the daily "Panorama" in late June, the murder might have been meant as a reprisal against the newspaper, "Panaroma" management told WiPC and RSF.

However, while colleagues told WiPC and RSF that Miranda Avilés had received threats, he very rarely covered crime, and some speculated it might have been a "crime of passion." The Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET) in Mexico also concurs with this motive.

CEPET also reported that on 15 July, 70 federal police agents descended on XEJS Cadena Radiodifusora de Chihuahua radio station in a particularly excessive fashion, with police blocking off streets as armed federal agents yanked out cables that were broadcasting live and ransacked the office. The security agents told the four journalists working at the time that Canal 3 TV, from which XEJS rents airtime for some of its programming, had broken the law. XEJS Otho Valles Baca, the licence owner of XEJS, told CEPET he is convinced the surprise raid was actually in response to its frequent criticisms of all levels of government, for which it had received threats.

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