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CPJ condemns grenade attacks against Televisa

A soldier outside Televisa's Monterrey offices. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo)

New York, August 16, 2010--Weekend grenade attacks against the Monterrey and Matamoros offices of the national broadcaster Televisa reflect another attempt by organized crime to intimidate the Mexican news media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

"No journalist is safe in Mexico when criminal groups feel free to wage grenade attacks on a national broadcaster," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas. "Drug traffickers are increasingly terrorizing the press and defining what is news and what isn't. We urge the Mexican authorities must fully investigate these incidents and bring those responsible to justice."

Unidentified men in a pickup hurled a grenade at Televisa's offices in Monterrey, Nuevo León state, around 1 a.m. on Sunday, according to international and local press reports. No injuries were reported. The explosion damaged a truck used by Televisa for remote broadcasts and shattered windows in nearby buildings, CNN reported.

On Saturday, unidentified assailants fired a grenade at Televisa offices in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, news reports said. The grenade was fired from a nearby pedestrian bridge, the Mexico city-based newspaper Milenio reported, causing minor property damages but no injuries.

The federal attorney general's office is investigating the two attacks in conjunction with state officials, local press reports said. No suspects have been identified in either assault.

Televisa's Monterrey offices have been attacked before. In January 2009, five masked gunmen riding in two pickup trucks fired high-caliber weapons and tossed a grenade outside Televisa studios. No one was injured, but at least six cars and the station's front door were damaged, CPJ research shows.

Monterrey was once considered one of Mexico's safest cities. But since early 2007, violence has spread as drug gangs, including the Zetas criminal group, have battled for control of the city and its nearby drug route into Texas. In May 2007, a two-man crew for the national broadcaster TV Azteca went missing, CPJ said in a 2008 special report, "The Disappeared."

Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows. More than 30 journalists have been killed and disappeared since President Felipe Calderón came to power in 2006.

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