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Director of often-targeted Mexican paper is shot in the leg

ARTICLE 19 condemns the attack suffered by Noroeste director Adrián López Ortiz in the evening of 3 April 2014. The organisation also calls on the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) to investigate, as it was a serious attack on his personal safety and the context of his professional work should be taken into consideration.

The organisation also rejects statements made by the Sinaloa Attorney General, Marco Antonio Higuera, who said that the attack on López Ortiz was being treated as a robbery, and, without any investigation, was not being linked to more than 50 other attacks that Noroesete has endured over the last three years.

López Ortiz was returning to Culiacán from Mexico City, where he had participated in a roundtable organised by ARTICLE 19 and Fundar and where he had spoken about media outlets and official advertising. He was attacked by two men who robbed him, and who later returned to the scene to shoot López Ortiz in the leg.

While he was in Mexico City, the Noroeste director gave an interview to ARTICLE 19, in which he spoke about the risks of reporting in Sinaloa and the attacks and security incidents that his paper has suffered.

“When you live in a constant climate of organised crime, you are vulnerable as part of the media, and it is the perfect breeding ground for authorities to attack you, because it is very easy for them to replicate the modus operandi of certain types of threats, certain language, so that the authorities are also causing you harm,” said López Ortiz in the interview.

“Adrián is conscious and doing well, but he is worried about the attack,” said Francisco Caumea, head of information at Noroeste in Culiacán.

ARTICLE 19 offers solidarity to the employees and management of Noroeste, as well as the family of Adrián López Ortiz, and calls on the FEADLE to start investigations quickly, clarify what took place, present the case to the courts for them to try and punish those responsible, since impunity causes severe damage to the exercise of press freedom. Undoubtedly, the FEADLE must produce results in their search for justice, exercising its powers under Article 10 of the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure under the constitutional powers provided in Article 73 fr. XXI.

Since 2010, ARTICLE 19 has documented a series of attacks on Noroeste newspaper and its employees, which have seriously jeopardised the safety and ability of all their personnel to carry out their work.

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