Missing Mexican journos raise fear of attacks

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MEXICO CITY -- A TV Azteca reporter and a camera operator have been missing since Thursday, fueling speculation that they may have become the latest victims in a spate of attacks against the Mexican media.

Reporter Gamaliel Lopez and cameraman Gerardo Paredes, employees of broadcast network TV Azteca Noreste in the northern city of Monterrey, disappeared after they had finished a news report Thursday.

"They have not been heard from since," a network spokesman said Monday.

The company is working with state authorities to find the missing men.

Some fear they have been kidnapped, as drug-related violence claims a growing numbers of victims along the U.S.-Mexico border. The broadcaster said it was too early to tell.

"The atmosphere of violence generated in recent months in the Monterrey metropolitan area has given rise to speculation, but none of these hypotheses has been confirmed," TV Azteca Noreste said.

Lopez has been known to do reports on organized crime.

In April, a correspondent for Mexican broadcaster Televisa was shot dead in the Pacific resort town of Acapulco. It remains unclear if the execution-style killing was linked to a drug cartel.

Since 2000, at least 22 reporters and editors have been killed in Mexico, and several others have gone missing, according to Reporters Without Borders

A recent report released by the Paris-based press group ranked Mexico second behind Iraq as the most dangerous nation in the world for media professionals.
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