A criminal group kidnapped five workers at Mexican daily El Siglo de Torreon and held them for several hours, a spokesman for the northern state of Coahuila's Attorney General's Office told Efe.

"They're in good condition," the spokesman said.

He confirmed that the workers were abducted on Thursday afternoon and were freed around 3:00 a.m. Friday.

Media outlets reported that the five kidnap victims were beaten, but the spokesman said that for the moment those versions could not be verified or denied.

El Siglo said on its Web site that it would not provide details on the abduction to ensure its workers' safety and protect the victims, but it acknowledged that the kidnapping "shook" the newspaper and demonstrates the "total lack of security" for members of the media.

The paper said media outlets have been left defenseless amid the epidemic of violence that has swept Mexico in recent years, even though their only aim is to report on the events battering their communities.

The daily noted that investigations into attacks on its offices by gunmen in August 2009 and November 2011 have gone nowhere, although it pledged not to be silenced and to continue reporting the news in that violence-wracked northern region.

Mexico, where more than 80 journalists have been murdered and 18 others have gone missing since 2005 and reports of aggression and harassment are commonplace, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media. EFE