Miami (April 4, 2014)—An attack on the managing director of the Grupo Editoral Noroeste newspaper group in Mexico was protested by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which said that the state of press freedom in that country will be discussed in detail during the organization’s Midyear Meeting that begins today in Barbados.
Adrián López Ortiz was beaten and his vehicle and belongings seized around midnight on Wednesday (April 2) in Culiacán, Sinaloa state. When the assailants started to run away one of them came back and shot him in the legs. López Ortiz, who was driving from the airport to his home at the time of the attack, was helped and taken to a hospital where he is recovering from his wounds.
The attackers made off with his vehicle, wallet, cell phone, laptop computer and suitcase. According to the Sinaloa newspaper Noroeste this attack was the latest in a series carried out against that media outlet in recent years.
Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, declared, “We are concerned at the increase in attacks on media and journalists in Mexico, one of the issues that we will be reviewing at our Midyear Meeting on the state of press freedom in the Americas,” which is being held through April 7.
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, added, “Given the increase in attacks on Noroeste we cannot rule out that this is another attempt at intimidation.”
Last month journalists with Noroeste in the city of Mazatlán were threatened and warned to stop investigating alleged connections of municipal police with the security group of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the recently arrested leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Several days later, in the cities of Culiacán and Guamúchil, the newspaper’s reporters were beaten and had their equipment seized by local and state police officers. Last year the managing director’s home was shot at, in 2010 the newspaper’s offices in Mazatlán were attacked and some months later threatening signs and a human head were left outside the newspaper’s offices.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.