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U.S. ’Deeply Concerned’ by Violence Against Mexico Journalists

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State said the administration of Barack Obama is “deeply concerned” by acts of violence and intimidation against journalists in Mexico.

The U.S. is determined to stop the flow of illicit arms and money that is fueling the violence across its southern border, William Burns said during a visit to Mexico today. The U.S. will “build on” a three-year, $1.6 billion anti-drug assistance package known as the Merida Initiative, he said, without giving details.

Mexican journalists are facing attacks by organized crime groups seeking to suppress their coverage of the drug war. Out of 126 attacks on media outlets since 2000, only 19 percent have been prosecuted, according to the government’s human rights commission. Over the weekend, armed men set fire and shot at a building that houses El Norte, a newspaper in northern Mexico that’s part of the Grupo Reforma chain, the third attack on the paper in less than a month.

“The United States is deeply concerned about acts of violence and intimidation intended to suppress the free flow of information,” Burns said. “We stand with journalists who risk their lives to inform the public.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nacha Cattan in Mexico City at ncattan@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.

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