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Two reporters flee the country after receiving death threats

(CEPET/IFEX) - A reporter and a photographer with "El Diario" in the city of Chihuahua (whose names have been withheld), left Mexico after receiving death threats on 8 November 2010 that referred to a photograph showing someone who died in a car accident.

Both journalists, who work for "El Peso", the evening edition of "El Diario", arrived at the scene of a car accident on the morning of 8 November to cover the death of a man who had been driving in a car with Sinaloa licence plates.

According to the reporters, police officers who had collected evidence of the accident warned them that the relatives of the man who died had threatened to kill the reporters after they published photos of the deceased and that they were searching the city for them.

According to an "El Diario" director, the police suggested the journalists leave the city because they could not guarantee their safety. Both journalists had considered reporting the threats to the Office of the State Attorney General and asking for protection, but they decided to leave the city and did not say where they were planning to go.

Most recently, the same source said that one of the reporters had previously been the subject of threats that required them to leave the country for a few months. CEPET was told that the journalists would reevaluate the possibility of returning to Chihuahua in the coming months.

The director denied that the authorities had intervened to quickly help the journalists and said that it was not until 11 November - when the threats were reported on the cover page of the newspaper and after the journalists had left the city - that the Chihuahua Attorney General contacted the newspaper about the case.

The Association of Chihuahua Journalists (Colegio de Periodistas de Chihuahua, Colpechi) said that despite having applied for protective measures outlined in the recently introduced protocol for journalists at risk (Protocolo de Seguridad para Periodistas en Situación de Riesgo), it was impossible to complete the process because the state government has not appointed their representatives to the commission to approve the support to journalists at risk.

Because of the urgency of the situation, Colpechi decided to financially support the "El Diario" journalists in their escape from Mexico.

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