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Authorities accused of failing to investigate disappearance of television reporters

(CEPET/IFEX) - The Mexican National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) has sent a recommendation to the Nuevo León state governor regarding the negligence, delaying and failure of the local authorities to properly investigate the May 2007 disappearance of reporter Gamaliel López Candanosa and cameraman Gerardo Paredes Pérez. At the time of their disappearance, López Candanosa and Paredes Pérez were working for the TV Azteca television station.

According to information provided by TV Azteca, on 10 May 2007 López Candanosa and Paredes Pérez left the station's offices in Monterrey, the state capital, to cover a story about the birth of conjoined twins. At about 4:00 p.m. (local time), they conducted a live news broadcast, after which they went to the Topo Chico settlement to cover a story about abandoned children. At 4:30 p.m., López Candanosa spoke to his wife. This was the last time that the two men were heard from.

On 13 May, the journalists' relatives filed a report about their disappearance at the State Prosecutor's Office, which then passed the case on to the local police department's anti-kidnapping unit. However, according to the CNDH's investigation there was no action taken on the case for 11 months and 16 days.

The CNDH noted that there was negligence in the issuing of summonses and the search for and investigation of evidence and individuals related to the case. The CNDH also noted the failure to request assistance from all police departments and municipalities in the state, as well as the failure to gather all necessary reports, documents and opinions relating to the investigation, especially taking into account the fact that there were indications of previous threats.

The CNDH is of the opinion that the rights of the journalists' relatives to justice and security have been violated.

It is important to note that López Candanosa previously covered stories relating to the sale of narcotics, although at the time of his disappearance he had moved on to covering other topics.

CEPET calls on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and locate López Candanosa and Paredes Pérez as soon as possible. The organisation considers attacks on journalists and media outlets to be equivalent to an attack on society as a whole since it jeopardises the right of citizens to be informed.

Updates alerts on the López Candanosa and Paredes Pérez case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87831

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