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Three journalists abducted, missing; details scant as media exercise self-censorship, says CENCOS

(CENCOS/IFEX) - The disappearance of three Torreón, Coahuila-based reporters over the 2-3 June 2007 weekend was announced by Joaquín Martínez Garza, editor of "El Sol de Durango" newspaper. The announcement was made on the occasion of Freedom of Expression Day.

A week after their disappearance, local and national media have reported very little on the incident. Not even the newspaper that denounced their disappearance, "El Sol de Durango", has released the names of the journalists or any significant details about the case. This relative silence suggests that media in the Comarca Lagunera region, which is comprised of the northern states of Durango and Coahuila, are exercising self-censorship.

Despite repeated contacts with "El Sol de Durango", CENCOS was unable to speak with the newspaper's editor, nor has the organization been able to corroborate through other means any facts about the journalists' disappearance.

Torreón is located in a region of the country plagued by violence associated with organised crime. The state governor, Ismael Hernández Deras, has stated that special state security operations to address the situation are being considered.

CENCOS is profoundly concerned about the reported "hoisting" and disappearances of the journalists and about the general state of vulnerability in which journalists find themselves in the violence-ridden northern area of the country.

Incidents such as this send a clear message to journalists about the risks they take in their work, and will lead to self-censorship if measures are not taken to guarantee their safety.

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