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Broadcasting corporation's vehicle set on fire, journalists threatened

(CEPET/IFEX) - A vehicle belonging to the Organización Impulsora de Radio (OIR) was set on fire by assailants who also left a note threatening the group's journalists. The incident took place on 27 January 2010 outside OIR's premises, in the city of Los Mochis, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Early in the morning on 27 January, firefighters and police were called to the corner of Miguel Hidalgo and Antonio Rosales streets in the city centre after they received a report that a white Ford Crown Victoria was on fire.

While the firefighters were putting out the flames, police officers noticed a plastic sack left near the car, which contained a warning written in black ink that read: "The same thing will happen to all reporters. We will burn you. Signed, La Mochomera."

Staff from the state Attorney General's Office and the Mexican Army arrived at the scene shortly after to open an investigation into the matter and to retrieve the letter. Several hours later, Sinaloa Governor Jesús Aguilar Padilla said that the threats against journalists were part of a "rarefied and unacceptable" climate that exists in the northern part of the state. He confirmed that he is increasing the number of police and that the state government is willing to come up with strategies to assure the personal safety of journalists.

According to reports in the newspaper "Noroeste," Luis Alberto Díaz, the director of the radio news show "Línea Directa," said the threat to the media should serve to put pressure on the authorities to take action quickly. José Luis Romero, a reporter for "Línea Directa" in the same city, was found dead on 16 January 2010.

José Isabel Ramos Santos, the general director of "El Debate," called on the authorities to "guarantee freedom of expression that is part of our country's constitution, to give us security and peace . . . we should have the freedom to say what we want and for that to be respected, as long as it is not said in bad faith and it is free of lies or libel."

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