Agence France-Presse

Mexico violence: Veracruz photojournalist Miguel Morales Estrada is missing

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui joins colleagues, relatives and friends of murdered journalists at Independence Angel monument in Mexico City on May 5, 2012 for a vigil to protest against violence towards the media.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – A photojournalist has been reported missing in the eastern state of Veracruz, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Miguel Morales Estrada worked for Diario de Poza Rica and as a freelancer for Tribuna Papanteca in the town of Papantla, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported today.

Morales Estrada told his bosses at Diario de Poza Rica last Thursday that he had to leave the city to “take care of some personal problems,” Spanish news agency EFE reported, citing the state government.

He hasn’t been seen or heard from since, Mexican news service Notimex reported.

"We urge Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of Miguel Morales Estrada," Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior coordinator for the Americas, said in a statement. 

"A full, effective investigation would send a signal to the public and press corps in Veracruz that authorities intend to protect their right to freedom of expression."

According to EFE, nine journalists have been murdered in the Gulf of Mexico state in the past two years, including four in the past three months.

In 2011 Reporters Without Borders described Veracruz as one of the deadliest places in the world for journalists.

The coastal state has been the scene of a brutal and deadly war between the paramilitary Zetas drug cartel and New Generation, a cartel based in the western state of Jalisco and allied with the Sinaloa cartel.

Around the country, scores of journalists have been killed in the past decade as drug-related violence intensified.

Journalists are often targeted by gangs who don’t want their activities appearing in print or are angry about the coverage of rivals.

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