Attacks and crimes against journalists, especially by organized crime and drug traffickers in particular, are still the norm in Mexico. These occur in a very specific area near Mexico's northern border with the United States, where journalism remains a high-risk occupation. The violence occurs in a complex geographic, economic and cultural setting, in which the drug trade seriously, and often brutally, undermines the life of the community. With unlimited financial resources at their disposal, drug lords can dominate at all levels of society from government authorities to the man on the street, with isolated cases of journalists in between. The dilemma faced by many journalists working in the area is to either look the other way or risk their lives. As a common saying in the region goes, "they have to choose between two metals: gold or lead." Those making deals with drug traffickers run no less of a risk. They may fall victim to a rival gang or be executed for perceived disloyalty or breach of trust. Journalist Félix Fernández was killed on January 19 in the border town of Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, when his car was riddled with machine-gun fire from another moving vehicle. Fernández was editor of the local magazine Nueva Opción, which is owned by a local ex-mayor whom federal authorities have tied to the drug trade. Two people have been arrested in connection with the crime. The police have reported no progress on solving the murders of three journalists killed near the border in 2001: José Luis Ortega Mata, who died on February 19 in Ojinaga, Chihuahua; Valentín Dávila Martínez, killed in August in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; and Saúl Antonio Martínez, killed March 24 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Impunity still surrounds the April 29, 1988 murder of Héctor Félix Miranda and the July 3, 1991 murder of Víctor Manuel Oropeza. IAPA investigations into these two cases prompted recommendations from the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which holds the Mexican government accountable to the international community for these crimes. Court proceedings are also dragging on considerably, such as the case of the December 1998 murder of US journalist Philip True in an indigenous area of the west-central state of Jalisco. The alleged murderers had been incarcerated awaiting a verdict, but were released in August 2001, apparently for disappearance of evidence. The state courts have yet to rule on an appeal brought by the journalist's wife, Martha True, in conjunction with the state prosecutor's office. On January 15 journalist Jesús Blancornelas, co-editor of the Tijuana weekly Zeta, reported in his column that he had received threats a few days earlier by e-mail. On November 27, 1997, Blancornelas had been severely wounded in an attack that killed one person with him. In November 2001 the chief of the Federal Prison Police, Gen. Francisco Arellano Noblecía, filed a defamation complaint with a federal judge in Mexico City against the Hermosillo newspaper El Imparcial. The paper had published in June of last year that Arellano Noblecía was the same person who had coordinated a police operation 25 years earlier, in October 1975, to evict tenant farmers from land in Sonora, in which a number of the farmers were killed. Arellano Noblecía initially had published in a Mexico City newspaper copies of checks apparently from an unidentified drawee, on the basis of which he accused El Imparcial of taking money from drug traffickers. The publisher filed a criminal complaint in response to the accusation. On February 19 Laura Eugenia Mendoza Sarao, a reporter for Campeche radio station XEA, was attacked by neighborhood leaders while covering a rally. The authorities have still not properly investigated her complaint. National newspapers and such news agencies as the Associated Press have published reports of harassment of journalists by state authorities in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, in response to investigative reporting into the authorities' inability to deal with public safety issues in the area, especially the deaths of dozens of women working in local cross-border assembly plants. In an unprecedented event, on March 16 a group of eight security guards from the Tamaulipas private security company Grupo de Servicios Impulsos S.A. de C.V., led by an alleged Mexican Social Security Institute representative known as Gerardo Rodríguez Valdés, who showed no identification, attacked the facilities of Saltillo newspaper Vanguardia, knocked down the front door with a crane, caused property damage, disconnected the telephone switchboard, threatened the paper's employees with guns and held them at bay for over two hours, preventing them from coming in, going out or moving freely about their workplace. The attackers also attempted to unlawfully take over management and editorial control, trampling on the rule of law, the personal protections afforded by the Constitution and the key principles of press law. After winning lawsuits for emotional distress and defamation brought by Campeche state authorities in 1994 and 1995, executives from the Campeche newspaper Tribuna filed a counterclaim for costs and damages. The cases have been halted arbitrarily, to protect the defendants' interests. Three bills affecting journalists and the media will be considered in the coming legislative session. The first is an amendment to the law establishing the journalism prize, which the government will no longer award; the second is the new radio and television law; and the third is the information transparency law that will give all Mexicans access to government information.