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Mexican drug cartels: Can journalists escape their violence?

Mexican drug cartels are assaulting the press, and so journalists are banding together to ask the Mexican government for protection.

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Members of the press protest violence against journalists in Mexico City, on Aug. 7.

Marco Ugarte/AP/File

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The Mexican press has been subject to assault and attack at the hands of suspected drug traffickers – including grenades launched into high-tech broadcast stations and dingy newspaper offices – for years.

Even as media watchdogs have declared Mexico one of the world's most dangerous places to report from, each outlet has had to act individually to protect its staff. Mostly they omit writer bylines and leave out crucial details of shootouts and kidnappings – if they cover the mayhem at all.

But now the Mexican media is demanding more protection, working together to draw attention to the threats the job is generating.

IN PICTURES: Mexico's drug war

The plight of journalists was forced into the national consciousness last Sunday, after the daily El Diario, based in murder hot spot Ciudad Juárez across the border from El Paso, Texas, pleaded to drug traffickers: "Tell us what you want."

The front-page editorial told drug traffickers they are essentially the de facto authorities and asked them what the paper can do to keep its staff off Mexico's growing casualties list. The editorial came days after the paper´s young photographer, Luis Carlos Santiago, was gunned down in a car at a mall in Juárez, the paper´s second reporter to be killed in two years.

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