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Unidentified Man: (Spanish language spoken)
JOHN BURNETT: The committee's executive director, Joel Simon, laments that El Diario seems to be surrendering, saying to the cartels, tell us what to print, so our reporters will be safe.
JOEL SIMON: I think their actions are understandable. I think the big losers are, obviously, the public.
BURNETT: Yet Diario's editor, Pedro Torres, sitting in his office in the hushed newsroom, disputes that interpretation of his editorial.
PEDRO TORRES: (Through translator) We're not surrendering to the people who belong to these groups. We're asking for a truce because we don't want them to kill any more of our companeros. We said this clearly. There is no authority anymore, except for the de facto authority of the criminals. We live under their law.
BURNETT: Jose Lucio Soria, longtime crime photographer at El Diario, stood outside the wake for his young colleague and pledged that the newspaper cannot back off the story.
JOSE LUCIO SORIA: (Through translator) We have to work, we have to take pictures. In fact, there were photographers at the crime scene taking photos of one of their own. But that's our job.
BURNETT: While investigative reporting in Mexico is unwise, Juarez has had the most robust journalism of any border city under siege. Most cities with high levels of drug violence simply don't cover crime news anymore, which is why it would be a tragedy if Diario further restricts its reporters, says Lourdes CÃÂ¡rdenas, a Mexican journalist and lecturer at the University of Texas at El Paso.
LOURDES CARDENAS: If you compare Ciudad de Juarez press with Tamaulipas press or Ciudad de Victoria press, the reporters cannot say anything. They are really, really, really afraid. And in Juarez they have challenged that fear.
BURNETT: John Burnett, NPR News, El Paso.
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