Gunmen open fire on Iguala newspaper

Gunmen killed a journalist and his bodyguard two days before the attack

Gunmen open fire on Iguala newspaper
Iguala has long been the scene of drug cartel violence - Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/AP
English 05/08/2020 13:54 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Arturo De Dios Palma/EL UNIVERSAL, AP Actualizada 13:54
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Gunmen opened fire on the offices of a newspaper located in Iguala, Guerrero, on Tuesday, two days after a journalist from another outlet was murdered along with a policeman assigned to protect him.

The prosecutors’ office in Guerrero said nobody was injured in the attack, which affected the facade of the newspaper’s offices. The newspaper Diario de Iguala said nobody was working at the offices because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The paper said in a statement that it does not publish stories on crime and violence, topics that sometimes anger cartels; however, it mentioned it had been forced to handle printing jobs for other papers due to economic factors and emphasized it wasn’t responsible for their editorial content.

“We energetically condemn the attack on the Diario de Iguala. Guaranteeing freedom of expression and social peace is the Mexican government’s priority,” Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero wrote in her Twitter account.

Iguala has long been the scene of drug cartel violence. In 2014, corrupt police officers kidnapped 43 students from a local teachers’ college and handed them over to a local cartel called "Guerreros Unidos,” which allegedly killed them and burned their bodies.

On Sunday, journalist Pablo Morrugares and a state police officer guarding him were at a restaurant in Iguala when they shot dead. Authorities found 55 shell casings from assault rifles at the scene. The killers opened fire from a passing vehicle.

Morrugares was director of the P.M Noticias Guerrero web site, which frequently reported on the cartel violence. Local media reported that threats against Morrugares had been displayed in the past on banners hung by roadsides, a tactic frequently used by drug cartels in Mexico. Morrugares and his wife had survived a previous attack in 2016, and he was subsequently assigned a police escort.

Recommended: Gunmen killed journalist Pablo Morrugares and his bodyguard in Guerrero

Morrugares was the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico in 2020, in attacks that are increasingly killing police guards assigned to the victims. Over 140 journalists have been killed over the past 20 years.

On June 2, Ariel Amparán Figueroa, head of the media outlet El Sisañozo, reported an attack against him for informing about an attack against a Cajeme journalist.

On May 27, journalist Marco Antonio Duarte Vargas suffered an assassination attempt when a Molotov cocktail was thrown against his vehicle.
 
On May 16, journalist Jorge Armenta Ávalos was murdered when he left a restaurant; his bodyguard died too.

Recommended: Violence against journalists on the rise in Mexico

A dangerous country for journalists

In August 2019, EL UNIVERSAL reported that more journalists were being murdered in Mexico than in Afghanistan.

Throughout 2019, criminals murdered 25 journalists from different countries. Unfortunately, a third of the victims were killed in Mexico.

It is a disgrace that Mexico, a country that is not officially going through armed conflict, tripled the number of journalists killed in Afghanistan. In contrast, the Asian country registered the death of three journalists amid civil war and while it is under the yoke of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban. Pakistan and Somalia are in third place after registering 2 dead journalists.
 
Mexico became “the deadliest country to be a journalist” and also plunged into the 140th place, among 180, in the World Press Freedom Index.

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