Mexico’s press is undergoing an unprecedented panorama of violence, with murders, disappearances and physical attacks in recent months. In this period six journalists were murdered and five remain missing. One other died from wounds he suffered after being kidnapped. From February 18 to March 3 eight journalists from print and electronic media in Tamaulipas were abducted and according to information received by the IAPA their identities were not disclosed and neither were formal complaints lodged with the authorities out of fear of reprisals and putting the victims’ lives in danger. Three of them were freed. The picture is increasingly complicated due to the lack of guarantees and security for journalists and media because the government has failed to put a halt to the impunity that surrounds the majority of the murders and attacks upon news men and women and media outlets. The levels of self-censorship by the Mexican press has been on the increase. In some parts of the country news media have decided not to report on anything concerning the activities of organized crime, or even publish official Army or police communiqués out of fear of reprisals by criminal groups, giving rise to a considerable lack of information. Between December 2006 and March 2010 there were reported a little over 18,000 deaths linked to organized crime, not counting the 5,000 police officers and 87 soldiers confronting criminals and losing their lives. The most violent states have been Chihuahua, with a total of 3,637, and Michoacán, Sinaloa, Tijuana and Baja California. On February 15 this year an IAPA mission met with federal officials and told them of the urgent need for action to be taken to deal with the violence and impunity. The mission included a meeting with newspaper editors and publishers from Durango, Coahuila, Sinaloa and Sonora states in which the federal and state authorities were urged to provide greater protection for the press. On January 13, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) announced that given the lack of results by the federal and state authorities in preventing and investigating attacks upon journalists it is closely following the ministerial inquiries and raising its voice to demand that the cases be solved and that justice be done. The CNDH from 2000 to date has recorded 60 deaths and 11 disappearances of journalists, among them Alfredo Jiménez Mota of the Sonora newspaper El Imparcial, a case that the IAPA submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in March 2009. Making crimes against freedom of expression federal offenses is an issue that is currently before the Mexican legislature. In February, the Mexican Interior Ministry and Attorney General’s Office announced the reorganization of a Special Prosecutor’s Office that deals with crimes against journalists, with the objective that it carry out at the federal level the work of investigating and bringing charges in state cases. The federal Chamber of Deputies’ Special Committee for Following Up Attacks Upon Journalists and News Media began consultations with specialist organizations, journalists, news media and the general public to draw up a plan of action. The practice of some governments of seeking to control the print and electronic media through placement of official advertising is continuing. Among the cases of the murder journalists are the following six: José Emilio Galindo Robles, committed on November 24, 2009, director of a local radio station in Guadalajara, Jalisco. José Alberto Velázquez López, whose dead body was found on December 23, 2009, was owner of a magazine and stringer of a local television station in Cancún, Quintana Roo. José Luis Romero, a Sinaloa reporter kidnapped on December 30, 2000 and found dead on January 16 this year. Valentín Valdés Espinoza, a Saltillo, Coahuila, journalist found dead on January 8 this year. Jorge Ochoa Martínez, publisher of two weekly newspapers, El Oportuno and Despertar de la Costa Chica in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, murdered on January 29 this year. Evaristo Pacheco Solís. The body of this 33-year-old reporter for the weekly newspaper Visión Informativa was found on March 12 beside a highway to Chilpancingo, capital of Guerrero state, with signs that he had been shot with a caliber 25 bullet. Two individuals were arrested as presumed perpetrators. In another development, Jorge Rábago Váldez, a reporter with Radio Rey and Reporteros en Red in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, was abducted on February 19, 2010 and then found on March 1, with signs of his having been tortured. He died three days later, apparently from his wounds. There are fears for the life of María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, a reporter with El Diario de Zamora, Michoacán, who has been missing since November 10, 2009. The Tamaulipas State Attorney General’s Office confirmed the disappearance on March 1, 2010 of Miguel Angel Domínguez Zamora of the Reynosa newspaper El Mañana. Regarding another seven cases reported in Ciudad Reynosa, that office said it had received no formal complaint. Other relevant developments during this period: On January 20, Juan Aparicio, editor of the magazine El Observador in Chiapas, was threatened by a State Border Police inspector as he was covering a raid on a house where a kidnapping had taken place. On January 21, Armando Suárez, a reporter with the magazine Puerto Viejo, published in La Paz, Baja California, received a death threat from the Loreto municipal chairman, Yuan Yee Cunningham, and beaten up by local officials. On January 27, an automobile was set on fire outside the offices of a radio station in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, with a message saying “This is what is going to happen to reporters, we will burn them, Sincerely, La Mochomera.” On February 18, Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, in jail for a year charged with the murder of American cameraman Brad Will, was released for lack of evidence. In another development, Gabriel González Gutiérrez, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder of journalist Benjamín Flores González in 1997 in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, walked out of the Hermosillo Social Rehabilitation Center No. 1 a free man. The National Human Rights Commission opened inquiries to determine the motives for recent actions against several journalists in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz and Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua state. For example, in Coatzacoalcos eight journalists said they had been the subject of libelous text messages posted on the Internet and three others received threats. A group of hitmen murdered and dissolved in acid the body of journalist Rodolfo Rincón, who had been reported missing in 2007, in Villa Hermosa, Tabasco. The disappearance and murder of Rincón, a reporter with the state newspaper Tabasco Hoy, was said to have been carried out by members of the Zetas gang, following the publication of a series of reports about the illicit drug trade. The National Human Rights Commission is putting together a complaint file and gathering details for possible action a claim of alleged violation of the right to freedom of expression of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper El Sur, Juan Angulo Osorio, by the Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office. It stresses that the authorities must abstain from violating this human right which journalists count on in order to keep the source of information they receive in doing their job confidential. The election reform of 2007 restricted the space available on radio and television for any citizen to express himself freely on election matters, by giving the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) the exclusive responsibility for political communications. For the elections of 2009 and 2010, the IFE set the guidelines of fairness for radio and television news programs which can represent an act of censorship. The matter of elections could be debated in Congress during the present legislative sessions.