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Two TV Azteca journalists missing in Monterrey

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF says it fears the worst after the disappearance of TV Azteca Noroeste reporter Gamaliel López Candanosa and cameraman Gerardo Paredes Pérez on 10 May in Monterrey, in the northeastern state of Nuevo León, and called on the authorities to step up the search for the two journalists.

"This brings the number of journalists who have gone missing since 2003 without being found to seven," the press freedom organisation said. "Saúl Martínez Ortega, a journalist who disappeared on 16 April in the state of Sonora, was found murdered nine days later. So we have ever reason to fear the worst, especially as Nuevo León is particularly exposed to organised crime and drug trafficking. We appeal to the local and federal authorities to work together to find López and Paredes quickly" (for further information on the Martínez Ortega case, see IFEX alerts of 27, 24 and 17 April 2007).

The last time the two journalists checked in with their television station was at about 4 p.m. (local time) on 10 May, after covering the birth of conjoined twins in a Monterrey hospital. The station vehicle they were using has not been found. The Nuevo León state police "anti-kidnapping" unit was asked to investigate after their disappearance was reported on the evening of 13 May, the attorney general's (Ministerio Público) Monterrey office said.

López Candanosa has worked for TV Azteca Noroeste for 11 years. The station's news director, Elizabeth Tiscareño, told RSF that "for six months he covered the army's presence in the region because of the violence."

"Milenio" daily newspaper said López Candanosa had profiled alleged murderers in June 2006 and reported on two messages left by a drug trafficker. Tiscareño also told RSF that López Candanosa has a regular slot in which he takes issue with the practices of certain public officials.

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