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Editor: Armed men attack Mexican newspaper office

From CNNMexico.com
updated 4:20 PM EST, Sun November 6, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The newspaper's director says no one was injured in the blaze
  • State authorities say they are investigating and cannot confirm the newspaper's account
  • The newspaper has been open for a month and has never been threatened, its editor says
  • A July report calls Veracruz "the deadliest single state for the media"

(CNN) -- Armed men burst into a newspaper office in eastern Mexico Sunday, warning staff before they set fire to the building, the newspaper's editor said.

No one was injured in the ensuing blaze, which damaged the inside and outside of El Bueno Tono ("The Good Tone") newspaper in Cordoba, Veracruz, editor Julio Fentanes told CNNMexico.

"They broke windows outside and inside the building," he said. "They came armed with all kinds of weapons, with pipes, with any number of things."

Workers hid in the back of the building during the early-morning incident, he said.

Veracruz state government spokesmen said a container with 10 liters of gasoline was found at the scene. Authorities were still investigating whether the newspaper had been attacked, the state officials said, and could not confirm the newspaper director's account.

A former candidate for mayor in Cordoba owns the newspaper, which began publication a month ago.

"We are a critical newspaper that informs about what is happening in the city. ... We haven't published anything in particular, we haven't offended anybody or insulted anybody," Fentanes said. "We haven't done any special investigation that has to do with organized crime. No one ever threatened us."

Local media in some parts of Mexico have scaled back coverage of violence -- or stopped it all together -- amid brutal clashes in the nation's drug war. In some areas, journalists have become a target of organized crime, human rights groups say.

At least three journalists have been killed in Veracruz state this year, the organization Reporters Without Borders said in a July report that described the Gulf coast state as "the deadliest single state for the media."

Last month representatives from the United Nations and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission said Mexico's government must do more to protect journalists.

In recent months, Veracruz has become a frequent site of clashes between armed groups as drug-related violence grows. In September, 35 bodies were abandoned in a roadway during rush-hour traffic in a popular tourist area there, two days before a meeting of high-ranking state prosecutors and judges.

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