Mexican police rescue 2 kidnapped journalists

Ken Ellingwood (Los Angeles Times)
Reporting from Mexico City — Mexican federal police on Saturday rescued two of four journalists kidnapped five days earlier by a drug gang in northern Mexico, authorities said.

The case highlighted the dangers faced by journalists in Mexico, where criminal gangs often seek to silence news coverage or slant it in their favor. The captors had demanded the airing of homemade videos that linked a rival gang to corrupt police in the states of Durango and Coahuila.

Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said intelligence work led to a predawn operation that freed cameramen Javier Canales of Multimedios Laguna and Alejandro Hernandez of Televisa from a house in Gomez Palacio, Durango.

Hernandez told reporters at a news conference that the hostages were beaten and threatened. He showed reporters a head wound that he’d suffered a day earlier.

Televisa reporter Hector Gordoa was freed by his captors Thursday. The whereabouts of the fourth captive, Durango newspaper reporter Oscar Solis, was not immediately clear, although there were reports that he had been released.

The journalists were seized Monday after covering protests at a Durango prison that is said to be under the control of organized crime.

The kidnappings produced an outcry. On Thursday, Televisa broadcast a black screen in place of the scheduled magazine-style program that employs its captured staffers. Mexico’s interior minister, Francisco Blake, went before cameras Friday to condemn the crime.

At least 30 journalists have been killed or have gone missing since President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on drug cartels in 2006. Read on: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-fg-mexico-journalists-20100801,0,6452599.story

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