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Staff at Mexican weekly fear attack by drug traffickers after report on criminal activities

Semanario ZETA via Facebook

This statement was originally published on sipiapa.org 29 November 2016.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today urged Mexico's authorities to "firmly and urgently" take measures to protect the staff of the weekly newspaper Zeta who said they have received threats from drug traffickers in reprisal for a report on their criminal activities.

On November 25 Zeta, based in Tijuana, in the Mexican state of Baja California, published information and 10 photographs on the front page of its recent issue on members of organized crime, mostly belonging to the Jalisco Nueva Generación (Jalisco New Generation) cartel, under investigation for various alleged offenses. Several hours later officers of the Baja California Security Force warned the Zeta editors that one of the drug trafficker chiefs was understood to have ordered their offices to be shot up on November 27 in retaliation for the publication of a photo of him and other members of the gang. However, it was learned that the attack might have been postponed.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, urged the government to "deal firmly and urgently with this matter through its system of local protection, taking precautionary measures so as to ensure the safety of all the weekly's staff."

Rock, editor of La Silla Rota, Mexico City, Mexico, called Zeta "a courageous publication that for decades has been navigating the dangers facing the practice of journalism" and added that "it has been the target of several attacks," a reference to the murder of two of its joint editors – Héctor Féliz Miranda in 1988 and Francisco Javier Ortiz in 2004 – and an attack upon one of its founders, Jesús Blancornelas in 1997.

Since its launch in 1980 Zeta has been a model of independent journalism in the fight against drug trafficking in Mexico.

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