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A fourth journalist goes missing in Michoacán State

(ARTICLE 19/CENCOS/IFEX) - 8 April 2010 - Another journalist has been reported missing in Mexico, the fourth to disappear in Michoacán since 2006. Ramón Ángeles Zalpa, a journalist with more than ten years' reporting experience, was last seen on 6 April at 13h00, when he left home for the National Pedagogical University, where he is also a professor.

ARTICLE 19 has initiated legal proceedings with local and federal authorities in an attempt to speed up the search for Ramón Ángeles. The organisation has also requested that the National Human Rights Commission grant him "precautionary measures", a special status intended to guarantee the safety of an individual at risk, along with their family. The Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and the local Office of the General Attorney's in Michoacán has now opened a file (number ACPGR/MICH/U-II/034/2010).

Ángeles is a correspondent for the local newspaper "Cambio de Michoacán" in Uruapan and Paracho municipality. He has covered government policy, public safety, and agricultural and environmental issues. Recently, he reported on an armed attack against an indigenous family on the boundaries of the municipalities of Angahuen and San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro.

Ángeles is the tenth journalist to have disappeared in Mexico since 2000 and the climate for media workers trying to exercise their professional duties remains risky across the country.

In an interview with ARTICLE 19, his family explained that they had received several unusual phone calls on Friday 2 April, the last of which was answered by Ángeles himself. The caller never spoke or identified themselves and the family was unable to say whether Ángeles had received a message or not.

On 11 November 2009, Maria Esther Aguilar Casimbe, a crime reporter in Zamora working for "Cambio de Michoacán", also went missing in similar circumstances. She has not yet been found.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with the family of Ramón Ángeles Zalpa, his colleagues and all employees of "Cambio de Michoacán".

ARTCLE 19 is deeply concerned about the escalating number of attacks against journalists in Mexico, and especially about the evident pattern of violence in Michoacán.

ARTICLE 19 urges the local and federal authorities to undertake all necessary measures to find Ramón Ángeles Zalpa, with all the urgency that is required in such cases. We also urge the authorities to launch a proper investigation into the perpetration of this abduction and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
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