Reporters Without Borders said Thursday after an attack on the offices of a national television network that violence against the Mexican media could increase in the lead-up to general elections this summer.
Last weekend’s bomb attack on Televisa’s offices in the northeastern border city of Matamoros “has raised fears of a resumption of the threats that were aimed against the organization in the same place in 2010,” the Paris-based press freedom watchdog, known by the French initials RSF, said.
The group said Televisa’s offices were damaged in Sunday’s blast but no injuries were reported.
The attack in that city of Tamaulipas state, one of the hardest hit in recent years by drug cartel turf wars, “occurred in the wake of two other attacks in the same part of northern Mexico, which has a history of violence.”
“Violence against the media appears likely to escalate as the July 1 federal election approaches,” RSF said.
Efforts to silence the media “play into the hands of the drug cartels and their accomplices among the authorities” ahead of the elections, in which the country’s severe problems of violent crime once again will be a major issue.
“After a six-year federal offensive against drug trafficking during which more than 50,000 people have been killed and human rights and basic freedoms seriously undermined, how do the presidential candidates propose to restore the rule of law?” RSF asked.
The attack on Televisa occurred six days after a car bomb exploded on March 19 at the offices of the Expreso daily in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, also causing damage but no injuries.
RSF also expressed concern over a shooting attack on March 24 on the home of journalist Victor Montenegro, editor of the weekly El Contralor and a contributor to the Contralineas and Lobo Times magazines.
Montenegro’s mother was inside the home, located in the northern state of Durango, at the time but was not injured in the attack.
Mexico ranked just 149th out of 179 countries in RSF’s latest world press freedom index, the group said, adding that 80 journalists have been killed and 14 others have gone missing nationwide over the past decade.
Source: EFE, Al Jazeera.