El Manana newspaper in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday announced that it would stop covering violent criminal disputes after suffering a second grenade attack against its offices in two months.
Other newspapers have quietly adopted similar policies of not covering drug cartel violence to protect their staff against threats and violent attacks including kidnappings and murders carried out by gangs that either do not want their activities to appear in print, or are angered by coverage of their rivals.
However, El Manana’s announcement was unusual because it was public. The paper did not say who it thought was behind the attack earlier in the day, nor give a possible motive.
“We ask for the public’s comprehension and will refrain, for as long as needed, from publishing any information related to the violent disputes our city and other regions of the country are suffering,” the paper said in an editorial.
Nuevo Laredo, like much of Tamaulipas State, has been the scene of bloody battles between the Zetas drug gang and the Gulf cartel, supported by allies in the Sinaloa cartel.
“The company’s editorial and administrative board has been forced to make this regrettable decision by circumstances we are all familiar with and by the lack of adequate conditions for freely exercising professional journalism,” the statement said.
“We will only address the [violent crime] issue through the opinions of professional analysts who study the phenomenon in an intelligent and responsible way,” it added.
Also on Tuesday, gunmen threw grenades and opened fire on two buildings belonging to the El Norte newspaper in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. No injuries were reported in those attacks and that newspaper has not announced any change in coverage.
The newspaper reported on Monday that employees of a local motor vehicle bureau were suspected of improperly providing thousands of license plates that were used to make stolen cars appear to be legitimately licensed vehicles that were then sold to unsuspecting buyers.