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Two journalists of TV Azteca still missing; IAPA calls for more vigorous investigation

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is an IAPA press release:

IAPA reiterates concern for disappearance of two Mexican journalists

MIAMI, Florida (September 19, 2007) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed again today its concern for the May 10 disappearance of journalists Gamaliel López and Gerardo Paredes of TV Azteca Noroeste and at the lack of progress in the investigations into their whereabouts.

López is a reporter and Paredes a cameraman for the TV station located in Monterrey, in the northern Mexico state of Nuevo León. According to information gathered by the IAPA, López was preparing reports on urban problems in Monterrey and had previously covered executions in the area. Neither of the two was known to have received threats.

Their disappearance was reported to the Nuevo León state attorney's office on May 14 but to date it is not known what official investigations have produced, according to a complaint to the IAPA by Ricardo Salinas, president of the Salinas Group, which owns the television station.

Gonzalo Marroquín, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, and Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, chairman of the Anti-Impunity Committee, urged state and federal authorities to pursue a more vigorous investigation to locate the missing journalists and identify and bring to justice those responsible for their disappearance. They took the opportunity to reiterate the IAPA's concern at the continuing violence unleashed against journalists in Mexico.

Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, declared, "It is time that the Mexican authorities show their commitment to eradicate violence so that freedom of the press may prevail in Mexico without fear of reprisals."

Ealy Ortiz, president of the newspaper El Universal in Mexico City, said that "the IAPA offers its support to the missing journalists' families and colleagues. It is our duty to demand of the authorities that they spare no effort until the whereabouts of López and Parades are known."

Nuevo León state is regarded as one of the most dangerous places in Mexico for its ongoing battles between drug cartels.

Journalists murdered in Mexico this year include Saúl Martínez Ortega in Sonora and Amado Ramírez in Guerrero; still missing are Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, José Antonio García Apac, Rafael Ortiz Martínez and Alfredo Jiménez Mota.

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