EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Following the firebombing of its building on Wednesday, a newspaper in the state of Chihuahua will not only cease its printed edition but also stop covering police news and politics.
In an editorial published on its web site, El Monitor de Parral told its readers it will change its “editorial profile” as a result of Wednesday’s attack. “We are suspending our printed edition until conditions for journalistic work improve,” the editorial says. “We will not post absolutely any police news item — regardless of its importance — or political news. … We hope our readers continue to follow us as usual.”
El Monitor is located in Parral, Mexico, 375 miles south of El Paso. Early Wednesday morning, a group of persons arrived at the newspaper building, disabled an exterior security camera and tossed Molotov cocktails — bottles filled with a flammable liquid — inside. Four employees were in the building at the time of the attack but weren’t harmed, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office.
“We deeply regret this attack on freedom of expression, so I have activated a multidisciplinary workgroup to get to the bottom of this,” Attorney General Cesar Peniche said in a news release. The group will include forensic investigators and human rights violations specialists, he said.
Mexican police haven’t established a motive for the attack. But three days prior to the incident, El Monitor had published an editorial entitled “Violence and Politics.” The piece addressed the arrest of two police officers in connection with the disappearance of two female and one male nurse abducted from their apartment in Parral in late May by men with guns.
It also made reference to violence in the nearby towns of Allende and Coronado, where according to the Attorney General’s Office two rival gangs — La Linea and the Sinaloa cartel — are fighting for control of fuel theft. The practice, know in Spanish as “huachicoleo,” was first brought into public light by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is trying to root out corruption within the state-run oil monopoly.
El Monitor’s editorial also warned against political parties trying to score points by politicizing the violence. KTSM tried to contact El Monitor for comment, but its phone calls and emails went unanswered.