Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Editor of newspaper targeted by cartels beaten in Mexico’s Sinaloa

8 April 2014

The editor of a Mexican newspaper targeted for its reporting on drug cartels and corruption was beaten, shot and robbed in Mexico’s Sinaloa state.

Adrián López Ortiz the general director of a media group that owns the daily El Noroeste, was returning from the airport just after midnight on April 3 when armed men surrounded his car with their vehicles and forced him out of his car, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported, citing Noroeste.

The men were in their twenties and had their faces covered, according to Noroeste.

The men beat López and stole his computer, phone and wallet, according to the Boston-based news website GlobalPost. One of the attackers returned to shoot him in the leg before they left in his car, which was later found abandoned in a neighboring town.

The attack occurred in López’s home city of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. He was taken to a hospital there and listed in stable condition, GlobalPost reported.

The attack was the most recent in a series of attacks directed at Noroeste and its staff in recent years.

The paper has faced threats, harassment and attacks since its February coverage of the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, according to CPJ. The office received anonymous threatening phone calls after government officials refused to comment on a story “that alleged that Sinaloa law enforcement officers were involved in protecting Guzmán before he was captured,” CPJ said, citing Noroeste.

Three Noroeste journalists reported that police attacked them or took their equipment in March while they covered protests in support of Guzmán.

In 2010, two drug cartel members opened fire on the reception desk at the paper’s regional offices in Mazatlán, and the staff was threatened in a message left at the scene of the attack, according to CPJ.

A severed human head was also left outside the Mazatlán office that year.

“Violence related to organized crime has made Mexico one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists,” CPJ said April 3, citing its own research.

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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