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Federal police oblige reporter to erase photographs of their activities in Saltillo

(CEPET/IFEX) - Federal Investigations Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigaciones, AFI) agents briefly detained reporter Jorge Sosa del Bosque, of the Saltillo-based newspaper "El Heraldo", and Raúl Coronado Garcés, of the Torreón-based newspaper "La Opinión Milenio", on 12 February 2008, and obliged them to erase from their digital cameras photos that they had taken of the police agents rounds on the streets of Saltillo, the capital of northern state Coahuila.

The incident occurred when the reporters were getting into their vehicle after covering another story. At that moment, three AFI patrol cars passed by; their manoeuvres led to the reporters, in a vehicle driven by Sosa del Bosque, winding up behind the police patrols. Coronado Garcés took advantage of the situation to take photographs of the police, reported "El Heraldo" in its 13 February edition.

When the agents noticed that they were being photographed, the first patrol cut the reporters' vehicle off. Two agents approached and stood on either side of the car, asked the journalists to explain why they were photographing them, and asked them to identify themselves.

The police asked Coronado Garcés to hand over the roll of film from the camera; when the reporter explained that his camera was digital, they asked him to erase all the photographs.

Once the agents had assured themselves that all the photographs had been erased, they got back in their patrol cars and drove off.

Coronado Garcés says that he took the photographs to be able to cover the fact that the police were keeping an eye on the community in order to protect it.

The reporters have not undertaken any legal proceedings regarding the incident, and only "El Heraldo" published information about the matter.

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