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Violent attack on news outlet leaves media worker dead

A violent attack on two media companies in Torreón, Mexico, last week has left a TV engineer dead, report the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and other IFEX members.

A group of armed individuals burst into the transmission facilities of Multimedios Laguna on 9 February, destroyed and stole equipment, and shot TV engineer Rodolfo Ochoa Moreno eight times as he was calling the police, reports CEPET.

The assailants also stormed the Radiorama Laguna station nearby and damaged equipment, say the members. Following the attacks Radiorama and Multimedios stayed off the air for several hours, report CEPET and IAPA.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Heriberto Gallegos of Radiorama Laguna said the attack was intended to generate panic among the public in Torreón, a large city in north-central Mexico and a battleground for two competing organised crime cartels. "Both of them want to show their power. Both of them want to show the government cannot control them and the people must do what they say," Gallegos said.

He also admitted that the station had already decided to stop reporting on organised crime as a security measure due to the high incidence of violence in the region.

According to CPJ, Multimedios has been targeted several times by drug cartels since 2009. Eliseo Barrón, a reporter and photographer for one of the company's newspapers, "La Opinión", was abducted and murdered in 2009. Cameraman Jaime Canales was among others kidnapped to force the company and another broadcaster to televise videos made by a cartel last July.

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