TV Azteca reporter targeted in shooting

Journalism, politics and cocaine collide in hail of recriminations, gunfire

MEXICO CITY — One year after the unsolved murder of TV Azteca presenter Paco Stanley, news reporter Lilly Tellez has become the victim of a gangland-style assassination attempt.

Tellez was unhurt, but two police bodyguards and her assistant were hit in a hail of 30 bullets as they drove from the studios of Mexico’s No. 2 network on Thursday night.

Police said the motive was unclear, although Tellez has been at the center of a fierce battle between TV Azteca and the Mexico City authorities sparked by Stanley’s murder in June 1999.

Since then, the capital’s public prosecutor, Samuel del Villar, has launched a probe into TV Azteca’s finances and Stanley’s shooting. The investigation revealed that the chatshow host may have been indebted to cocaine dealers.

In response, Tellez ran an investigation into del Villar titled “Abuse of Power,” which critics attacked for an alleged lack of journalistic objectivity.

Following Thursday’s shooting, Mexico City acting mayor Rosario Robles called on TV Azteca to abstain from blaming her administration until an investigation had been carried out.

In a pointed statement, TV Azteca said it expected a “rapid resolution” of the crime by the Mexico City prosecutors.

The incident follows partially successful efforts by Mexico’s No. 1 broadcaster Televisa, previously attacked as a mouthpiece for the ruling party PRI, to be more fair in its coverage of opposition parties, including the PRD, which runs the capital.

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