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Mexico newspaper announces closure, citing risk of violence

At least 16 more journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2015, according to the Committee to Project Journalists.

Mexican newspaper 'El Norte'. Picture: Facebook.

MEXICO – A Mexican newspaper in the border city of Ciudad Juarez is shutting down due to the risk of violence after a string of killings of reporters around the country, the paper’s owner said on Monday.

Norte ran a headline that said “Adios” on the front page of its Sunday edition and its owner, Oscar Cantu, explained in a letter he was shutting the newspaper down after 27 years. He said on Monday the online version would also be closed.

“No company, no business is worth more than a person’s life,” Cantu said in an interview. “Keeping going with the company, or on-line version, would put people at the same risk due to the type of journalism we do.”

Cantu pointed to a string of recent murders of journalists including the death of Miroslava Breach, who was shot multiple times last month in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Earlier in March, the attorney general’s office in the Gulf of Mexico state of Veracruz said it was investigating the murder of journalist Ricardo Monlui.

At least 16 more journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2015, according to the Committee to Project Journalists.

The closure of Norte came as a surprise to reporters, editors, photographers and other employees of the newspaper, and many found out about the decision from the front page letter.

“More that just losing a source of jobs, what is being lost is press that can be a counterweight, a press that indicates what is really happening in our environment, what happens in our government and society,” said Norte journalist Salvador Esparza.

Juarez became the murder capital of the world last decade due to a war between drug cartels while El Paso, Texas, across the border is one of the safest US cities of its size.

The murder rate in Ciudad Juarez had fallen in recent years, but strong demand for methamphetamines in Juarez has triggered a turf battle and a new spike in violence.

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