Noted journalist Javier Valdez killed in Mexico's Sinaloa

Geneva Matthews
May 16, 2017

Valdez was the fifth journalist killed this year in a country plagued by drug violence and corruption, according to officials and media rights groups.

Award-winning Mexican journalist Javier Valdez has been shot dead in the north-western state of Sinaloa.

According to a recent report by the press freedom organization Article 19, 2016 was the most deadly year for the press in Mexico in the past decade with 11 journalists murdered and more than 400 attacks on media workers.

Valdez is the sixth journalist to be killed in Mexico so far this year.

Mexico is one of the most risky places to be a journalist, with the vast majority of attacks on the media unpunished.

Mr Valdez was interviewed by Fox News last month, when Miroslava Breach became the 30th journalist murdered in the country since 2012.

State Prosecutor Juan Jose Rios visited the scene and said authorities were investigating all possible motives, including that the killing could have been due to Valdez's work, though he gave no details. "The gunmen, who the paper say appeared to be drugged, roughed up some of the reporters then stole their cameras, cellphones, and other personal effects". It is one of the most risky in the country, fueled by drug cartel violence.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the slaying in a tweet, and expressed condolences to Cárdenas' family.

Reporting on Valdez's killing, Mexican media posted images showing a body lying in the street covered by a blue blanket and surrounded by 12 yellow markers of the kind typically used to flag evidence such as bullet casings. The former is a look at the relationship between journalism and organized crime, and the latter chronicles the lives of young people swept up in Mexico's criminal underworld.

He was considered a rare source of independent, investigative journalism in Sinaloa, said Jan-Albert Hootson, the Mexico representative for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. "It's also home to the Sinaloa cartel, which until recently was headed by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman" - the infamous drug lord who, after a high-profile escape and recapture, has been extradited to the USA and is awaiting trial.

Mexico ranks third in the world for the number of journalists killed, after Syria and Afghanistan, according to media rights group Reporters Without Borders. Journalists who worked with him said he kept his sense of humor despite the pressures of his job.

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