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Mexican newspaper self-censors even as legislator proposes bill to fine media for publishing violent photos

Although the headquarters of the Mexican newspaper El Mañana suffered an armed attack in the border city of Nuevo Laredo on the night of Friday, May 11; the reporters of the newspaper managed to finish Saturday's edition and return to work on the next day, reported the newspaper Detroit Free Press.
Not even a grenade can stop the presses in Mexico,” was the headline for the Detroit Free Press, which highlighted the armed attack against the newspaper.

In February, 2006, the newspaper reported a hand grenade attack that left one of its employees semi-paralyzed, and the director was stabbed to death in 2004, however, authorities never investigated the crimes. In 2006, the newspaper said it would censor news about organized crime in Tamaulipas, a state highly affected by organized crime.

Six years later, El Mañana published an article to outline its publishing policy: "This newspaper, appealing to the understanding of public opinion, will abstain from publishing any information that is related to violent conflicts, which our city and other regions of the country suffer from, for as long as necessary,” according to the Sunday, May 13 edition. The newspaper directors said that they decided to do this because of the "lack of conditions to freely exercise journalistic work" and that they would only cover organized crime through analysts' opinions.

Even as some Mexican newspapers are self-censoring, others are being censored by the government. In Chihuahua, another state bordering the U.S., a local Congressman presented a bill to fine more than $10,600 to news media that publish grotesque photographs of violence victims, reported the newspaper Norte de Ciudad Juárez.

Alejandro Pérez Cuéllar, author of the bill, said that his proposal isn't to restrict freedom of expression, but rather is a way to respect family member's pain and protect the rights of the victims, reported the news site Al Margen.

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