Veteran journalist Javier Valdez killed in Mexico's Sinaloa

16 May, 2017, 10:04 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Mexico. Valdez a veteran reporter who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime was slain Monday May 15 2017 in the norther

Javier Valdez, 50, a noted journalist and author who reported for the Mexican newspaper Rio Doce as well as French news agency Agence France-Presse, was shot dead on Monday afternoon. He reported for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada (Spanish.) He was also a valuable source for worldwide reporters trying to piece together the debacle that is Mexico today.

The CPJ awarded Valdez its International Press Freedom Award in 2011 for his prolific coverage of drug trafficking and organised crime.

Valdez is the fifth journalist to be murdered in Mexico in just over two months, and the second high-profile reporter to be slain in the country this decade after Regina Martinez Perez, who was killed in 2012.

A wave of attacks, several of them fatal, targeted reporters in Mexico over the last few months, NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico.

He was killed when unidentified attackers opened fire on his auto in the city of Culiacan where Valdez was working, the RioDoce website reports.

Prosecutors announced they were investigating whether the killing may have been due to Valdez's work or a carjacking turned deadly.

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But if Valdez's case is anything like that of the many other reporters who have been murdered in Mexico recently, there's a good chance his killers will never be punished. The area in northwestern Mexico is known as the country's drug capital.

Photographs from Sinaloa showed Valdez's body in the middle of a street, the brimmed hat he often wore lying among a dozen yellow markers for bullets. President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned what he called an "outrageous crime".

A special federal prosecutor's office tasked with crimes against freedom of expression said it had started the procedure for opening an inquiry and was sending a team to collect evidence.

Mexico ranks third in the world for the number of journalists killed, after Syria and Afghanistan, according to media rights group Reporters Without Borders.

"Being a journalist is like being on a black list", Valdez said at a launch of his last book about drug gangs. The state of Sinaloa is the base of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel, and has seen a surge in violence since his arrest, as rival members of his gang vie to wrestle control.

"It is part of the investigation we will be carrying out", he told the press after arriving at the scene of the crime. Ricardo Sanchez Perez del Pozo, a lawyer with a background in worldwide law and human rights, took over the post.

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