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New attack on "El Norte" offices, third in 19 days

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico City, 30 July 2012 - For the third time in 19 days, there was an attack on the offices of El Norte, in Nuevo León state. This time the armed assailants forced their way into the offices of the paper's Sierra Madre supplement, located in San Pedro, and later set fire to the ground floor of the building. According to the media outlet, none of the 12 people present were injured.

Security camera video footage shows that the incident took place at 6:04 p.m. on 29 July 2012 when three armed men with covered faces and a jug of fuel drove up to the media outlet's main entrance. Three other vehicles accompanied them.

In less than a minute, the attackers entered the building, poured gas over the floor, set it on fire and escaped to a van that was waiting outside. The video shows that San Pedro police arrived as the criminals were leaving, but the police did not pursue them.

This attack was the sixth against El Norte offices in less than two years and the ninth in the area since January 2009. On 10 July 2012, unidentified men armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades opened fire at the offices of the paper's supplements La Silla and Linda Vista.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its support for the El Norte employees and condemns this latest attack against Nuevo León media outlets. This latest incident demonstrates how little authorities have done to guarantee freedom of the press. Just under three weeks after this double attack on Grupo Reforma media outlets, no results into the investigations have been made public, and no one has been detained.

ARTICLE 19 calls on state and federal authorities to comply with their international obligations to carry out an independent, speedy and effective investigation that will ensure that those responsible are brought to trial. The organisation also calls for effective security measures to be provided for El Norte employees so that they can continue to carry out their work.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)
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