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Will recent wave of arrests improve media safety in Mexico?

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ blog post:

By Mike O'Connor/ CPJ Mexico Representative

Twenty-one people have been arrested for a wave of crimes that included 11 murders (six of which were committed against police officers), the abduction for hours of five employees of El Siglo de Torreón newspaper, the murder of a mayoral candidate, and attempted murder of a current mayor in a large metropolitan area in central Mexico, according a senior federal official.

The question is, will the arrests have any effect on the larger climate of fear among the area's press and public?

The arrests took place Wednesday 6 March 2013, for the most part in and around Torreón, Coahuila, an area where journalists and citizens have been terrorized for well over three years as two large organized crime cartels fight for control. The mayor who was allegedly the subject of the attempted murder is Rocío Rebollo Mendoza, of the city of Gómez Palacio. The suspects are members of what could be new breakaway groups from these larger cartels, according to federal officials.

El Siglo de Torreón is the largest newspaper in the region and has been under pressure by the cartels to slant coverage in their favor, either diminishing their crimes or playing up the crimes of their opponents, reporters have long told CPJ. The paper carried only the briefest story on the arrests in order not to antagonize the cartel to which the suspects are alleged to belong, according to a senior editor. He said the paper was fairly confident that those under arrest are responsible. It was not clear if there were still others at large that are a threat to the paper's staff.

Continue reading on the CPJ blog

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