A photojournalist is missing in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, where nine journalists have been murdered in the past two years, officials said.

Miguel Morales Estrada, who worked for the Diario de Poza Rica and was attacked by gunmen last year, has been missing since last week, relatives said.

Morales Estrada covered the police beat in Poza Rica, a city about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Mexico City.

The photojournalist was taken from his workplace by force by gunmen last year, but he was not killed, relatives said.

Morales Estrada's family filed a missing person report, the Veracruz Attorney General's Office said.

Diario de Poza Rica executives said Morales Estrada advised them last Thursday that he would not be able to provide photographs because he "was going to have to leave the city to take care of some personal problems," the Veracruz state government said.

Veracruz is one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for journalists, with nine members of the media killed by drug cartels and other organized crime groups in the past two years.

"We are seriously concerned at the horrific levels of violence facing journalists in Mexico," the International Press Institute, or IPI, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA, and the World Editors Forum said in a statement released last month.

"At least 53 have been murdered in the past 6 years and many more have disappeared. In very few cases have the perpetrators been brought to justice and those who kill and threaten journalists are routinely protected by a climate of impunity," the groups said.

Nearly 80 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000. EFE