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Mexico2 June 2008

Journalist Jorge Carrasco Taracena turns up safe and well one month after he went missing

Journalist Jorge Carrasco Taracena, of privately-owned national channel, Televisa, who was reported missing on 30 April, turned up safe and well on 26 May at the Lost and Missing Persons Attention Centre (CAPEA), the federal public ministry responsible for the centre, said on 30 May. The crime reporter, whose disappearance was reported on the station’s evening news bulletin on 6 May, declined to give any reasons for his prolonged absence, nor to specify if they were linked to his work. Reporters Without Borders, which tried unsuccessfully to contact the journalist, welcomes the news of his reappearance, while continuing to wonder about the circumstances and motive for his absence.

09.05 - Televisa reporter missing in Mexico City for more than a week

Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the disappearance of Jorge Carrasco Taracena, a crime reporter for the privately-owned national TV station Televisa, who went missing in Mexico City on 30 April amid an increase in violence related to drug trafficking.

“So there is no evidence that Carrasco’s disappearance is linked to his work as a journalist, but the fact that he specialised in sensitive stories would make him a likely target,” the press freedom organisation said. “We fear the worst after more than a week without any ransom demand or message claiming responsibility, or any message from the victim.”

Reporters Without Borders added : “Investigators should examine the possibility that this is work-related and, until other evidence comes to light, police anti-kidnapping units should deploy all necessary resources to look for him.”

Televisa reported Carrasco’s disappearance during its main news programme on 6 May. It said he was seen for the last time on the morning of 30 April at Televisa headquarters. Carrasco’s job was to go around Mexico City at night covering police operations and crime.

So far there is no hard evidence that Carrasco was kidnapped but an unofficial source said an anonymous caller told the federal prosecutor’s office he was forced into a pickup.

Carrasco’s disappearance comes almost exactly a year after journalists Gerardo Paredes and Gamaliel López of TV Azteca Noroeste went missing on 10 May 2007 in Monterrey (in the northern state of Nuevo León). Reporters Without Borders has recorded nine case of journalists going missing in Mexico since 2000.

Televisa lost another reporter amid a similar surge in violence linked to organised crime just over a year ago, when its correspondent in the southern city of Acapulco, Amado Ramírez, was gunned down on an Acapulco street on 6 April 2007. The murder has still not been solved and the investigation has been marred by irregularities.

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