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Early morning attacks on newspaper, TV station in northern Mexico

(CENCOS/IFEX) - In the early hours of 6 March 2013, there were attacks on the offices of the newspaper El Diario and the TV station Canal 44, in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. No one was hurt.

El Diario said their security cameras filmed armed men breaking into the paper's parking lot at approximately 1:05 a.m. and firing seven shots that damaged the exterior of the building and the main entrance. Minutes later, around 1:30 a.m. there was an attack against Canal 44. Ten shots were fired, hitting a security booth, the entrance and some windows. Both attacks were carried out using weapons issued exclusively to the military.

On 3 March, the director of Ojinaga Noticias, Jaime Guadalupe González Domínguez, was shot dead in the city of Ojinaga. As of 7 March the motives for this murder and the attacks against El Diario and Canal 44 had not been determined.

The state of Chihuahua has suffered a severe decline in human rights as a result of the general violence and impunity in the state, which intensified under the administration of Felipe Calderón. Journalists and media outlets have been the targets of serious attacks, including the 2008 and 2010 murders of journalist Armando Rodríguez and photographer Luis Carlos Santiago, who both worked for El Diario. Impunity and the absence of justice have contributed to a situation that allows these types of attacks to be repeated. CENCOS is concerned that journalists in Chihuahua will continue to be in a vulnerable state; urgent action by local authorities will be required to lessen the risks they face.

CENCOS calls on the Chihuahua Attorney General to carry out a full investigation and on the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression to determine whether it should be involved in the recent cases. The organisation also calls on the authorities responsible for the mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists to provide the necessary protection for El Diario and Canal 44.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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