Goodbye: 27-year-old newspaper announces it's shutting down. Goodbye: 27-year-old newspaper announces it's shutting down.

Security worries close Cd. Juárez newspaper

If the price of publishing is life, 'I'm not willing to pay,' says publisher

A regional daily newspaper based in Ciudad Juárez, one of whose correspondents was murdered 10 days ago, has ceased publication due to insecurity.

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The last edition of Norte, published yesterday, carried a simple but bold headline that said “Adiós!” under which appeared a letter from owner Óscar A. Cantú Murguía, who explained his reasons for putting an end to the 27-year-old publication, whose circulation was about 30,000.

“I have made the decision to close this newspaper due to the fact that, among other things, there are neither the guarantees nor the security to exercise critical, counterbalance journalism . . . . This copy that you have in your hands will be the last edition that Norte of Ciudad Juárez publishes.”

Cantú Murguía wrote “the tragic and heartfelt death of Miroslava Breach Velducea, a contributor to our newspaper, has made me reflect about the adverse conditions under which the practice of journalism currently takes place. High risk is the main ingredient.”

He continued, “Fatal attacks as well as impunity are evidence that we are prevented from freely carrying out our work.”

Breach Velducea, who was also Chihuahua correspondent for the newspaper La Jornada, was gunned down in her car outside her home in the state capital on March 23. A message left at the scene said, “For being a snitch.”

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Three journalists were killed in Mexico in March, making it a particularly bloody month for the profession.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Cantú stated, “For me, a free press is a pillar of democracy. If I can no longer do the type of journalism I want to do, I cannot accept it anymore. Enough.”

He added, “ It is an act of protest, it is my way of protesting with silence.”  Cantú hopes to help the estimated 150 people who will lose their jobs to find new employment.

In addition to the security concerns, Cantú also cited financial reasons for the paper’s closure, saying all three levels of government left unpaid debts. Government advertising was an important source of revenue for the paper.

Cantú thanked the paper’s readers and advertisers and stated that he was satisfied that he had created hundreds of jobs in the border region and provided experience for people who have gone on to successful careers in both the public and private sectors.

“We fought against the tide, receiving an onslaught of attacks from individuals and governments for exposing their bad practices and acts of corruption which were detrimental to our city and its inhabitants,” Cantú said.

“I fulfilled my duty as a human being and as a citizen as I thought fit to do so and with conviction and love for my city,” he said. Cantú vowed to fight on “from other trenches” but said “everything in life has a beginning and an end and a price to pay. If that price is life, I’m not willing to pay it with the life of one of my collaborators or my own.”

It is expected that the newspaper’s digital site will also soon close.

One hundred and four journalists were killed in Mexico between 2000 and 2016.

Source: Reforma (sp), Norte Digital (sp), The Washington Post (en)

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  • miabeach

    Freedom’s not free.

  • MAJ

    104 journalists murdered between 2000 and 2016! What cowards who do such things! Mexico gangs are cowards but cowards with guns and weapons and a corrupt police state to permit them to get away with their crimes. When will rule of law become ingrained in Mexico’s DNA? When will Mexico noble people rise up in the millions and destroy those gangs on their own? Truth and freedom come with a cost. But, sixteen years of Mexico gang terror instigated by punk gangs should make every Mexican want to stop these crimes. It is in the Mexican people’s hands to bring order to this chaos. When will they do it?

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      “When will Mexico’s noble people rise up in the millions and destroy those gangs on their own?”
      Unfortunately, never.
      With a disarmed population (government gun control), the Mexican people are defenseless.
      Citizens can’t fight armed criminals with sticks and stones.

    • Güerito

      When the Mexican people try to form armed self-defense groups, the Mexican government locks them up in prison.

      • SickofLiberalbs9999

        The reason for keeping Mexican citizens disarmed is obvious – to prevent the next Mexican Revolution.

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      The Mexican population is like the long-abused wife who eventually accepts the violence as “normal”.
      Mexicans shrug their shoulders and say “oh, well, what do you expect, it’s Mexico after all………………”
      Mexico is already lost – there is no realistic way it can recover it’s rule of law and security.
      How could any country replace its entire government, police, and military forces to root out corruption?
      It simply can’t be done, not at the level of Mexico’s corruption – top to bottom, national to local.
      I wish it were not true.

      • TioDon

        I live in Mexico and when my American friends ask if Mexico will ever overcome the widespread corruption, I tell them “no, never”. The corruption is from the lowest government employee to the President and, for the most part, the cartels control what goes on it the country. Alas, I don’t think there is any hope. The closing of this 27 year old newspaper is a distinct sign of the downward slide that Mexico is experiencing. I hate it but don’t ever see it changing.

  • Pogo

    Shame shame shame. This shame is directed at the maggots, the murderers, who silence a free press in a country otherwise full of wonderful, generous people with an amazing history. What are you doing for money, cartels? You are destroying your country; that is what you are doing for money.

  • gypsyken

    Yet another very distressing report. I first entered Mexico in my motorhome in 1993 through Ciudad Juarez. I have no idea what the solution to the violence may be, and I don’t know that anyone else does. So it just makes me sad that having been away from Mexico for a year, I am now afraid to go back.

    • Paul Beith

      I think legalizing weed at least would be an important start.

      • gypsyken

        The evidence does not show that marijuana is an entirely benign drug, and I have known people who were behaviorally, if not physiologically, addicted to it–they simply had to have it and could not function without it–and who went from marijuana to heroin in search of a higher high, for whom marijuana was a “gateway drug.” Even if marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, I don’t find making another drug legally available, especially to the young, to be a rational decision. It is too early to evaluate the experience with marijuana in Colorado, but the data that I have seen thus far are not encouraging, and I think its governor spoke wisely in advising other governors not to rush to legalization. .

        • Paul Beith

          Mexico has tried making marijuana illegal and the results are disasterous. Special interest groups are pulling out all stops to scare us. Marijuana is already available to young people and older people. At least people who don´t want to smoke up have a choice. The innocent bystanders killed by cartel shoot outs had no choice. Prohibition is disasterous.

          • gypsyken

            You can apply the exact same language to heroin by replacing “marijuana” with “heroin” and “smoke up” with “shoot up.”

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